Real Madrid must be kicking themselves. I’m not talking about their result at the Camp Nou this week. No, I’m talking about releasing a certain youth player in 2007. That youth player went over to the east coast of Spain to join Valencia where he is fast becoming a brilliant player. I’m talking about Juan Mata.
It was then-Valencia coach Ronald Koeman who saw his talents. He was wowing the crowds at the Mestalla along with his Asturias-born team-mate David Villa. He scored five goals in the second half of the 2007-08 season and another five within the opening few weeks of the following season. Last season he acvhieved fantastic statistics getting him almost as close as the brilliant Xavi of FC Barcelona.
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The Spanish team also took notice and he has been in the set up since 2009. He was in the squad in last summer’s World Cup in which Spain went on to win. Not bad for any 22-year old to win a World Cup winner’s medal. According to various newspaper reports, Liverpool are keen on the left winger and may swoop in during next month’s tranfer window. Valencia may be strapped for cash, but if I was coach Unai Emery, I would do everything in my power to try hold on to this lad.