Thursday 22 August 2019

Mata wants to emulate Giggs by playing into his forties at Manchester United

Juan Mata, right, would like to play on like Ryan Giggs, left
Juan Mata, right, would like to play on like Ryan Giggs, left

Juan Mata would like to extend his Old Trafford stay and go on to play into his forties like Manchester United great Ryan Giggs.

There was talk the 29-year-old could be on the move when the Red Devils appointed the manager who let him leave Chelsea in January 2014.

However, Mata has become an influential figure under Jose Mourinho and now the conversation has turned to the prospect of extending his contract beyond the summer.

United already hold the option to add a further year and the Spain international is open to discussing a longer stay, even raising the prospect of playing into his forties like Giggs.

Asked if he can see himself finishing his career at United, Mata told ESPN FC: "Why not? I'm 29 and hopefully I can play football for some more years.

"It would be great to play until I'm 40 like Ryan Giggs. But that's still a bit far, still 11 years.

"I'm happy here. The club is massive, the support we have is massive. I've been settled down in the city since year one. Now it's my fourth year in Manchester.

"You never know what can happen in football and in life. But my feeling now is that I'm happy here and I wouldn't have any problem continuing here for more time."

Mata is similarly open about his post-playing career.

The attacking midfielder's stance on management is softening, while this year he launched the Common Goal project that sees those in football pledge at least one per cent of their wages to charity.

"I would like to be associated with football somehow," Mata added.

"I like the Common Goal initiative, the vision of football as a tool for social change and the power football has to improve the world.

"It might be in that direction and I think I would really enjoy it. I don't know yet. I have time to think about it."

PA Media

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