Saturday, August 13, 2011

Juan Mata

Juan Manuel Mata García (born 28 April 1988) is a Spanish footballer who plays for Valencia CF mainly as a left winger.A clever player, who possesses great pace, intelligence, and goalscoring ability.After successfully graduating from Real Madrid's youth academy, he spent the majority of his senior career with Valencia.

Mata had a contractual clause at Real Madrid during his last season at the club, and eventually agreed to sign for fellow La Liga side Valencia CF in March 2007, starting in 2007–08.

Benefitting from constant injuries to Vicente and the ostracism to which then-manager Ronald Koeman condemned Miguel Ángel Angulo, Mata gradually carved a niche on Valencia's first eleven. On 20 March 2008, he scored twice in the Copa del Rey semifinal match against FC Barcelona to help Valencia reach the final against Getafe CF where, on 16 April, he netted the opener in a 3–1 win. During that first season, he was voted the team's Best young player by fans and players alike.

In the 2008 Spanish Supercup, Mata scored against his former club Real Madrid in a 3–2 first leg victory, but Valencia lost 5–6 on aggregate after a 2–4 away loss in the second game. He started 2008–09 well, scoring in the opener against RCD Mallorca (3–0 win). He also netted the only goal of the game against CA Osasuna, latching on to a long ball from David Villa.

On 25 September 2008, Mata's understanding with Villa proved to be growing in efficiency, as he set up both of his teammate's goals in a 2–0 away win over Málaga CF. Three days later, he put in a superb performance against Deportivo de La Coruña, scoring one and creating the other three, in a 4–2 home victory.

Towards the end of the campaign, Mata managed to score two very important late goals for Valencia: the first, the 3–2 winner at Sporting de Gijón, and the second a penalty against Sevilla FC at home, to put Valencia 2–1 up (specialist Villa had already been replaced due to injury) in an eventual 3–1 success. He achieved impressive stats during the season, finishing with 11 successful strikes and 13 assists (in the latter category, league's second-best, behind FC Barcelona's Xavi).

In the following two seasons, Mata was an everpresent offensive figure for Valencia, scoring 17 goals in 68 games combined, with the club achieving back-to-back third-league places. On 10 April 2011, he netted two in a 5–0 home win against Valencian neighbours Villarreal CF.On 9 May, England-based Spanish journalist Guillem Balagué reported interest from several Premier League clubs.

JUAN MATA - Valencia - Goals, Skills, Assists - 2010 / 2011

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