Manchester United extends Juan Mata’s contract

Martin Rickett/PA via AP
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Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho’s long and winding relationship has taken an unexpected turn with the news that the club is going to keep the player around a bit longer.

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United has picked up an option year on Mata’s contract to keep him at Old Trafford through the 2018-19 season, the extension coming the same month Mourinho signed a new deal with the Red Devils.

Mata and Mourinho famously fell out during their time at Chelsea, and the Spaniard’s first month reunited with the manager at United had its moments as well.

It’s fine now, though.

Saying that he feels “privileged” to be a part of Manchester United, the well-liked midfielder spoke to ManUtd.com:

“I still feel very happy and very proud to be part of this club,” said the Reds’ no.8. “I think everyone that belongs to Manchester United should feel privileged, and that’s how I feel.

“I’m happy with everyone at the club and, obviously, with the manager and my team-mates. Once you are part of this club, your football career is not the same; it changes, because this is one of the biggest clubs in football history. Every day I try to tell myself how lucky and how privileged I am, try to take advantage of every single training session, and try to see how important it is to be a Manchester United player.”

Mata will be 31 at the end of his contract, and has been a valued part of three of the biggest clubs in the world. His Common Goal initiative is one of the coolest endeavors around the game.

At Valencia, Mata scored 46 times with 52 assists in 174 matches. He then played 135 times for Chelsea, scoring 32 with 58 assists before moving to United. At Old Trafford, he’s played in 172 matches with 39 goals and 30 assists.

He’s won a EURO, a World Cup, a Champions League, two Europa Leagues, two FA Cups, a Copa del Rey, and a League Cup. All-in-all, we’re talking about one of the most overlooked stars in world football.