Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has quashed claims he could be set for retirement at the end of the season stating he still has a 'lot of passion and a lot of will to keep enjoying football.'
The 33-year-old has managed just five appearances for the club this season sparking suggestions the Spaniard could be set to hang up the boots, with his current contract set to expire in June and no signs yet of an extension.
Mata, who joined the Red Devils from Premier League rivals Chelsea in 2014, has racked up 51 goals and 47 assists in 278 games for the club and in spite the fact his playing time has dried up, the midfield maestro is adamant he still has more to give.
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"I haven't been playing as much as I would like this season and I really miss it," he admitted. "I'm enjoying training with my team mates and I really want to show that I can enjoy playing and giving what I can give to the team."
Having started his career in his homeland at Real Madrid's Castilla team, he joined fellow La Liga outfit Valencia before Chelsea prized him to England. Mata made 135 appearances for the Blues, where he was named Player of the Year in 2011-12 and 2012-13 consecutively ahead of his move north to Manchester.
On an individual and collective level, Mata's career to date has been nothing short of glittering. He has several illustrious accolades such as World Cup and Champions League winners' medals to his name and his love for the game has not gone away.
"I miss it and I still have a lot of passion and a lot of will to keep enjoying football," he said. "This is a dream come true to be a professional football player so I want to play as much as I can and I feel good, to be honest: mentally, physically, I am of course ready to perform, so hopefully soon"
Whispers about a potential coaching role for Mata at Old Trafford have been played down, with the clubs choice of permanent manager still being debated. The Spaniard also focuses his efforts into the charitable project, 'Common Goal', which he setup in 2017 to leave a lasting legacy.
"Of course I will be involved with Common Goal because that's something that goes beyond football. It's something that will last for much longer and it will stay there after I stop and many members stop, but my mind is 100% committed to playing."
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