‘Wasn’t bothered about the other two, but this one hurts’: Downcast Manchester United fans are full of praise for Juan Mata as the popular Spaniard follows Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard out of Old Trafford
- Juan Mata is Man United’s third high-profile departure to be confirmed this week
- Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard will also leave when their United contracts expire
- The Spaniard is a fan favourite after making 285 appearances for the Red Devils
- Supporters hailed the popular midfielder for his eight years of service to the club
Manchester United fans paid glowing tributes to Juan Mata after the midfielder became the latest player to be announced as leaving Old Trafford this week.
The club confirmed the 34-year-old, who signed from Chelsea for £37.1million in January 2014, will leave when his contract expires at the end of this month.
The Spaniard joins Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard on United’s list of outgoing stars as they also prepare to make an Old Trafford exit at the end of their deals this summer.
Juan Mata has become the latest player to be confirmed to be leaving by Manchester United
The Spaniard joins Jesse Lingard (left) and Paul Pogba (right) on United’s outgoing list
However, unlike Pogba and Lingard, Mata leaves the club as a fan favourite after making 285 appearances for the Red Devils.
Mata won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League with the club but was unable to achieve his ambition of lifting the Premier League title at United.
‘Thank you for dedicating eight years of your career to United, Juan,’ United said in a statement. ‘Everyone at the club wishes you all the best for the future.’
Emotional fans joined the club in their well wishes for the player as they praised Mata for his eight years dedicated to United.
One supporter claimed they did not care about the departures of Pogba and Lingard but insisted they were upset over Mata’s exit.
They took to social media to say: ‘Wasn’t bothered about the other two yesterday, but this one hurts. Thank you @JuanMata8, we didn’t deserve you.’
Other fans shared their thanks for Mata, hailing him as a special and class player and ‘the last of his kind’.
‘There will never be another player like him,’ wrote on fan. ‘Last of his kind. It was truly special watching you in Red. Thank you for everything Juan!!’
Another shared: ‘Class player, gave his all for the shirt and could argue that he’s been the best post Fergie signing. Thanks @juanmata8.’
Meanwhile, one supporter thanked Mata specifically for his role in United’s 2-1 victory over bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield in 2015, which was dubbed ‘Juanfield’ for Mata’s brace.
‘All the best Juan I will miss you,’ the posted. ‘May we see you again as a director here one day. Thank you for Juanfield.’
United fans have been left disappointed by the displays from their squad this season as the Red Devils scraped sixth place.
However, some supporters claimed Mata was the one player that did not let them down as they blamed the club for not deploying the player better.
‘Farewell to one of the classiest men in football, on & off the pitch,’ one fan tweeted.
‘A huge error on United’s part to never consistently use him in his proper role & force him out on the right, what a player. Good luck on your next step Juan.’
Another added: ‘1 Player we did let down! What a player! #MUFC’
He played in only 12 games for in his final campaign at the club, with his last appearance in a United shirt coming in the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on the last day of the season.
But Mata – unlike Lingard, much to the frustration of the player and his family – enjoyed an Old Trafford send-off as he was given a rousing reception after the 3-0 win over Brentford, United’s final home game of the season.
Further departures are expected at the club this summer – including Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani – as United seek to rebuild under new manager Erik ten Hag.
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