Juan Mata has described the conversations on the training ground he has had with Manchester United’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo this season. Mata was expected to leave Old Trafford when his contract expires at the end of next month, though he recently revealed he will discuss his future with future boss Erik ten Hag.
Mata has been fortunate to call Ronaldo his team-mate this season following the Portuguese ace’s return to Old Trafford. Although there has been very little to enjoy for United fans this season, Ronaldo has shown that there is plenty left in the tank with 24 goals in all tournaments.
That is despite Ronaldo turning 38 this year. A relative junior of 34 years old, Mata has now revealed what working with Ronaldo has taught him. During an extensive interview with The Athletic, Mata said: “If you ignore whether he plays better or worse, whether he scores or not, he always does the same thing before and after the match. So for him, the game is just the most important part of his day.
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“It’s something I can look at. He’s like, ‘it’s the right thing to do because that way you get into the game with more confidence. I did everything I could to play well. I want to play well ‘. He is a great example of how he prepares for matches. “
After Ronaldo’s return, there were frivolous suggestions from inside the United camp that players had stopped eating dessert for their meals at Carrington – all because of Ronaldo – but Mata has laughed at these allegations.
He added: “There was teasing between the tables, but nothing serious. Cristiano does a very logical thing during a holiday, he invests his energy, his efforts and his time in his well-being. I think it makes complete sense to try and be the best you can be in your body and your mind, not just to play football, but to live a healthier and better life. That’s what he does. “
Mata continued: “I think maybe this debate [whether he fits United’s style] exists because of who he is. He is the top scorer in the history of professional football, so people will talk about him whether he is good or bad. What is true is his standards and his willingness to win, to show himself in the most important moments of the season. He has the capacity for that.
“So it’s been a great experience getting to know him better, training with him and also seeing how he understands football. I’ve had a lot of conversations with him about football. He’s a little older than me – so maybe he does. “I do not look at it that way – but I think we are from the generation that saw football in a different way than the new generation.”
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