David Luiz and Juan Mata asked by 93milli0nmiles
If you’re having a bad day, then read Juan Mata’s blog and remember he gives you a hug in the end :)
prove yourself to Van Gaal in the next match!!
Juan being concerned about Ander/ Ander explaining his injury to Juan
"EL NIÑO, THE KID, IL BAMBINO" - Part 4
Rafa Benitez was the one who welcomed you to England. What was it like?
When I signed for Liverpool it became clear very soon that I’d found exactly what I needed: a club and a city that fit me perfectly. It was just the experience I was looking for when I decided to leave Madrid’s overwhelming day-to-day routine. But above everything, I’d found a manager who did his very best to get the best out of me, to make me better, to teach me, to adapt my qualities to what the team needed. I can’t stress it enough, I really couldn’t have gone to a better place. It was such a big step forward in my career, and a big learning experience. That’s what I needed the most at the time, to learn. I needed to feel important but at the same I needed someone who’d demand the best of me, who’d never let me be too relaxed. Someone who’d always ask for more. That was Rafa. And I think I succeeded. I got better, I helped the team, and then he left. He came to an agreement with the club to leave and from then on everything changed.
What did it mean, him leaving?
It meant that the club was taking a step backwards in terms of progress. And it wasn’t just him leaving. It was also Xabi Alonso and Mascherano. It was all very clear: we weren’t getting any better.
After all the drama he caused in Spain, Mourinho ended up at Chelsea last season.
That was also a learning experience for me. There was a big contrast between the idea I had of him and the man I actually encountered and spent time with. You might have a pre-established idea of what someone might be like, and the type of person you’ll find when you meet them, and then you realize you had it wrong. José is a very intelligent person who knows what he wants and knows how to get it, and has no qualms about making it clear. There’s a ship going in one particular direction, and the people who want to be on that ship have to go in that direction as well, there’s no other way about it.
What were your thoughts on Chelsea’s signing of several Atlético talents like Courtois, Luis Filipe and Diego Costa?
On one hand, it must have been difficult for Atleti fans to come to terms with the fact that, after such a great season, some players wanted to leave the club or move on with their careers. That’s perfectly understandable. On the other hand, it’s also somewhat gratifying to know that clubs like Chelsea are actively looking to sign Atlético players now, despite having the financial resources to do so with any other big team out there.
You scored against Atlético last season, during the Champions League semi-final, and you were absolutely stone-faced. Was it hard for you not to celebrate? Would you ever do something like that?
I would never. But to be honest, it’s quite an spontaneous thing. You’re focused on the game, you’re not even thinking about the possibility celebrating a goal. It’s something that simply happens, or doesn’t happen. I wanted to score a goal then just as I want to score in every game I play, but ever since I left Atlético one thing’s been very clear to me. I’d have no reason to celebrate a goal against them, in any scenario. I think Chelsea fans understood that, just like they understand whenever a former Chelsea player scores against them and doesn’t celebrate. They understand that and value it in a positive way.
Last year there was Eto’o and Demba Ba getting in your way. This year, Diego Costa and Drogba. Was it impossible for you to think that you had a starting place on that team?
That’s beyond obvious. But I wish the best for Diego. He’s a great player, a humble player, a player who spent a lof time on loan until he got the chance to shine at Atlético and become a champion. I’d already competed with him for a starting place during the World Cup and I’m sure he’ll score plenty of goals at Chelsea. In Drogba’s case, it’s his relationship with the supporters what makes him untouchable: he’s a legend, like Cech, Terry, Lampard or Ashley Cole are. They turned Chelsea into an extremely important team and they will always be remembered and cherished for that.
During your time in England, did you notice a growth in the amount of Spaniards who moved abroad in hopes for a better life?
Yes, a significant growth. There are many people in spain who are going through very unfair situations. They’re forced to leave the country because they can’t find a job that matches their abilities, that is on par with their knowledge and education. They deserve better. At times, they’re so well educated and prepared that companies can’t afford to hire them, they simply aren’t able to pay them the salary they deserve. And we’re losing extremely valuable people as a result. And with each passing day, the financial situation of the country gets worse and more people leave. However, luckily, people aren’t afraid to leave anymore and find themselves better lives. One of the biggest issues before was the fact that it didn’t even cross people’s minds to leave for other places and pursue their dreams, like their parents or their grandparents did. Life goes on, the world won’t end the second you leave Spain, I can assure you that. A lot of people have dared to do so and in the process we’ve found happiness. Then, someday, maybe, you’ll feel like coming back for good. At the moment I don’t feel that, personally.
Another hot topic in Spain at the moment is the current state of its politics. Is there someone out there who deserves credibility?
I don’t really feel like talking about something I don’t think I’m fully informed about, but at the same time, I think all of us Spaniards have been forced in a way to be up to date with what’s happening. Usually, it’s very unfair to make generalizations, but when there’s smoke… Very recently, I was listening to a politician speak, and he was basically saying that we have to be less focused on political parties and more focused on individuals. I agree with that. If you’re only basing you vote on the party a certain candidate belongs to, you’re only perpetuating PSOE or PP’s reign, when it’s perhaps time to pave the way for someone new. Politicians have rightfully earned people’s distrust, considering the situation we’re currently in as a country. But I guess it can’t be that simple, can it? There’s many things going on behind the scenes, as there always are, and not only in Spain, but in Europe as a whole. I can only say that it’s clear that many, many things haven’t been done right and as a result many people feel cheated and disenchanted. There’s been so many lies. We’ve been living above our possibilities and a lot of things that have happened might be harder to explain that whatever I could possibility come up with. But there’s a lot of room for improvement, that’s for sure. (x)
"EL NIÑO, THE KID, IL BAMBINO" - Part 3
Let’s talk about Spain now. After the team lost against Northern Ireland right before the 2008 Euros, nearly every sport paper in the country came together against Luis Aragonés. Was this helpful for the team in any way?
Those headlines weren’t helpful in the slightest. We grew closer as a group, but not as a result of what the media said. I’ve heard plenty of people trying to turn it around and pat themselves on the back by saying things like, “in that moment, when they all attacked you, something changed.” No. The press was anything but helpful. I remember playing in Murcia and Santander with the team and having to hear the fans boo every single one of us, and Aragonés of course. That was the result of those headlines, right there. People only ever read the things they’d like you to tell them, not anything else. It’s very similar to what I said before about Liverpool and Chelsea. It’s the same in Spain. If you read something once or twice, it’s up to you whether you believe it or not, but if you read the same thing over 40 times, some of it will inevitably stick, and you’ll start believing it. It became very personal, all of it, a complete lack of respect towards us, as people. I’d never seen anything like it before. I knew Luis ever since I played for Atlético, and I had the feeling that he’d respond accordingly to the situation. What he did brought us closer together as a team. He did that, not the media. “We have to be strong strong now, not just for our sake but for everybody’s. This is a very unfair situation but we’re gonna turn it around. Let’s prove to ourselves that we’re capable of doing great things and then we’ll ask the rest of them if they’d like to jump on the bandwagon.” And that’s what happened. You might think now that it was obvious we’d win the Euros in 2008 but that’s far from the truth. We were booed by the fans during the two friendlies we played right before heading off to Austria. I also remember the time when Luis Aragonés was a guest on “I Have A Question For You” (a Spanish T.V. show) and people were mockingly asking him about the team’s chances of making it through the group stages. A couple of weeks later those same people were out celebrating the title in the streets of Madrid. But that’s football for you. One day you’re up, the next you’re down.
And that was precisely the moment Luis Aragonés decided to be as bold as he’d ever been by introducing a completely new brand of football, with Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Cesc, Villa and yourself at the helm.
I think group-wise, that’s been the time period we’ve enjoyed the most. We’d never won anything before that, we didn’t know what it was like to win as Spaniards. We’d had such a hard time in Germany in 2006 and the whole qualifying process to get to the Euros in 2008 was really tough as well. We’ve talked about it before. The media was onto us, we weren’t doing well, psychologically, something was missing. Raúl leaving the team was also very hard for the team, and the media had a field day with it. In fact, the reason we enjoyed that period of time so much was precisely because we’d had it so bad before. It made us grow stronger and closer together, and the closeness and union that came of it, and that still lasts to this day, was fantastic. I wanted to get called up to the team not only to play for my country but to see my teammates, to spend time with them and have dinner together. We were a group of friends, and as a result of that we became a proper team, which is weird because normally when it comes to the National Team, everything’s a bit colder and more calculated, but what we had, in that moment, was truly great. Maybe that’s why we were able to enjoy the experience as much. We went on to win the World Cup and another Euro Cup after that, but the one from 2008 will forever remain the most special one to me.
(Fernando talks about his goal in the Euro final and how he got past Lahm).
And six years after that, it was Lahm who lifted the World Cup.
Lahm is such a great champion. He’s won everything at Bayern, but perhaps he was missing, along with that whole spectacular German generation, a title that big. They came close during the Euros, and two years later, at the World Cup, we managed to beat them again. But they’d always been there, always close. It’s such a hard thing, you know, winning these type of trophies. You have one bad game, you make one big mistake against one of your rivals, and you’re out. And then you have to wait another two, four years to give it another shot. Football, at last, was fair to Germany, to Lahm, to Schweinsteiger, to all those players who’d come so close before. We’re very happy for them in the National Team. It’s only fair, and an extremely appropriate way for that great generation of players to be recognized as they should.
Luis Aragonés, Rafa Benitez, Vicente del Bosque, Carlo Ancelotti, José Mourinho, to name a few, have been some of the managers you’ve had through your career. Not bad at all.
I feel very privileged. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the greats. Great managers on the pitch, great at handling the media off it. Managers who have known how to handle at times troubling dressing rooms by simply being their calm selves, and managers who’ve imposed their strong personalities on the team and have obtained great results. I’ve had many different types of managers, and if you take bits here and there from each of them you’d get one very, very complete manager. If I were to ever become one in the future I’d certainly take those bits and try to apply them for myself… but every time I even try to imagine myself in their place… we footballers can be very complicated creatures, you know?However, you won the Champions League while Roberto Di Matteo was in charge at Chelsea.
Di Matteo’s work has been so under-appreciated, so underrated, specially when you take into account the situation the club was in when he took charge. He is a ten out of ten. He took a team that at the time was out of every european competition and struggling in the league, and changed their mentality. That might be one of the hardest things about being a manager I think: to find a way to get your message across and make your players internalize it and make it part of themselves, make them believe your ideas and believe in themselves. That’s what Di Matteo did. And you know how football works. He didn’t make it to christmas next season. Such an unfair situation.
Why is that Champions League win so looked down upon by many? They go as far as comparing it to Greece’s win in the 2004 Euros even though you beat Benfica, Napoli, Barca and Bayern.
It’s not fair to undermine our accomplishment. It is true that we weren’t the best team by any means, or had the best squad, or played the best looking football, but we knew exactly how to make the best of what we had, and we worked our way around those games fantastically. That was it. We had the luck that is sometimes needed in those crucial moments, just like we had it with Spain in 2008. In Chelsea’s case, we managed to turn things around against Napoli in the second leg after losing 3-1 away; then against Benfica, we played well. But after that came Guardiola and Messi’s Barcelona… and we won, I’m still not sure how but we won, after being down 2-0 and with ten men on the pitch, we managed to tie the encounter and make it to the final. Then, against Bayern, we started out losing the penalty shootout but we were champions by the end of it. Sure, you can say we were lucky at times, and we were, but you cannot say that any of the teams we played against were better than us at that point, because that wouldn’t be true. We knew what we had to do and we did it well, and that’s it.
Speaking of Barcelona, there’s been so many rumors through the years about you signing for them.
Yes, there’s always been a great relationship between me and the club. I’m speaking of my agents and the people at Barca, of course. Xavi and Iniesta used to ask me all the time about my situation at Atlético and if I would ever seriously consider signing for them. But there hasn’t ever been any truth to those rumors, to tell you the truth. (x)
Juan Mata and Ander Herrera Manchester United vs West Ham United 27.09.2014
Mata & De Gea
Love you two
And Manchester United offical account post the first photo! OMG, they really like this couple!! HAHAH!
“To me Fernando is more than just a teammate, he’s a friend, a truly great person. You might think he’s a great striker, but as a person he’s much better.” - Juan Mata