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Juan Mata joined Chelsea from Valencia in 2011, and was an instant hit at the club. However, the Spaniard only spent three years with the Blues before leaving the club for Manchester United in 2014.
Mata has admitted that at first he wasn’t keen on joining United, but had to leave after falling out of favour under former boss Jose Mourinho.
“The summer before, there was some interest [from United],” the 31-year-old told Utd podcast.
“No [I wouldn’t leave then]. I wanted to see what the challenge was and there was never really anything else other than interest. There was not an offer, so I didn’t have the real opportunity.
“As the season went on and the transfer market arrived in January, then there was an offer. I had some other offers also but I wasn’t going to leave either. I’m not one who wants to leave when the situation is tough.
“When Manchester United called and they said ‘We’re going to go for you and make an offer to Chelsea, we want you to come’, I spoke with them. I really wanted to go and really wanted to feel what it is to be a Manchester United player.
“I had suffered playing against United with Chelsea and they are definitely one of the biggest clubs in the world. At that moment, they were struggling with the first season of [David] Moyes and were not doing great in the league, but that doesn’t matter. I wanted to come to be a player for this club.
“I spoke to Chelsea and said: ‘Listen, there is this offer. It’s also good money and you can sign another player, because I’m telling you so that you have time to sign another player. I’m not playing a lot and want to take this opportunity. It’s perfect for everyone.’ So it happened.”
Mata was a fan favourite at Chelsea and was loved by the Blues fans. But his three-year stay at Chelsea has so far seemed more productive than his six years at Manchester United.
Mata won the Premier League and Champions League with Chelsea and was at his best playing for the Blues.