Juan Mata has granted an interview to L’Equipe this week, ahead of Manchester United facing PSG at Old Trafford.
The Champions League match is naturally getting a lot of coverage in France, with PSG wanting to secure themselves a victory after losing to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side earlier in the group stage.
Mata spoke at length about various issues, and one of those was being at the Premier League club for so long. He explained that, along with compatriot David De Gea, he takes it on himself to welcome new players, whether they be from the academy or transferred in from outside.
L’Equipe put it to Mata that this hasn’t been needed with Bruno Fernandes. Immediately after arriving from Sporting, the midfielder showed why it was such a good idea to bring him from Lisbon, and that form has continued since.
Mata was happy to speak to L’Equipe about his teammate: “Yes, some players take a long time to adjust to the pace of the Premier League but that was not the case with Bruno, who immediately proved how great a player he is.
“He is hungry for victories and only thinks of improving. On the pitch, he and I get along very well, we have an instinctive mutual understanding of our passes, our movements… It is a pleasure to work alongside him. Truth be told, we are all very happy that Bruno is here, considering his impact on the team. Hopefully he continues like this.”
L’Equipe also asked about Marcus Rashford, and the initiatives the forward has been leading off the pitch this year, and again Mata was very happy to send praise his way: “I am so proud of Marcus, as a teammate and friend, that he was able to help so many hungry English kids. This is a situation he experienced as a child, so he knows what he is talking about.
“He is so impressive… Let’s not forget that he is only 23 years old. From his first practice with the group, I felt he was a good guy, humble, with a great mindset and a lot of heart. It’s great to see Premier League players like him, Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) or Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) put their fame to good use to help others, and make sure that we live in a society a little more fair.”
Juan Mata also has his own Common Goal initiative, asking footballers to donate 1% of their wages to help others.