Juan Mata has shown incredible talent and value during his time at Chelsea and Manchester United, bringing a passing style and creative technique that is somewhat rare to the Premier League.
Unfortunately, it’s not so rare to the Spanish World Cup squad, and Mata will fall victim to his own style, according to Spanish talk radio Onda Cero.
The station claims that because Mata is too similar to players such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Santi Cazorla, manager Vicente Del Bosque is prepared to leave Mata out in exchange for Jesus Navas who can bring pace and electricity to the wings.
Del Bosque has still not decided on his final roster, largely in part because he is waiting to see how Diego Costa heals (or doesn’t heal) from his torn hamstring.
Navas starred for Manchester City this past season, while Mata
criminally sat on the bench at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho before finding an escape route to Old Trafford, where he impressed despite Manchester United’s struggles.
This isn’t anything shockingly new for Mata or Spain supporters. The 26-year-old was left out of Spain’s squad for a friendly with Italy back in February, just a few weeks after his move to Old Trafford. Del Bosque put it simply at that time, “In the case of Juan, we really like him, we know his potential, but we don’t have room for everyone.”
Mata is in Spain’s starting lineup against Bolivia at the time of this writing, so he seemingly has one last shot to prove Del Bosque wrong.
Another name in that lineup is Fernando Torres, and with Spain’s multitude of attacking options, he also could potentially be playing for his World Cup life after another mediocre season at best at Stamford Bridge. Torres scored a penalty in the friendly against Bolivia.