Mata: "I'll always be able to say I played alongside Giggs"

Where others find reasons to moan, complain or throw in the towel, Mata looks for lessons from which he can learn and progress.

"This year has led me to trust in myself more than ever, to be strong when things were not going as I wanted. I don't regret anything, I've learned a lot. In every decision I have made in my life, I have been certain of the opportunity it would bring", revealed the Manchester United midfielder.

José Mourinho was a figure who featured in his career path. Under his command, things did not go well but even in that period, Mata can still see the positives: "He's a very competitive person, very focused on winning. Any player can see that from the first moment. I felt that from the first talk we had".

He went to Old Trafford and felt he had entered another dimension. "It's hard to get your head around the phenomenon Manchester United is and the presence it has worldwide until you're there – it's a giant".

"After the presentation, I was with my parents and I got a message on my phone. It was Ryan Giggs wishing me luck and telling me he was a bit upset because he wasn't the best left-footer on the team anymore. Obviously it was a joke, but it made me happy for someone like him to say that about me. I never imagined I would get to play alongside him. When he started, I was 2 years old. I'll always be able to say that I played alongside him".