Juan Mata’s biggest achievement this season came when he helped Manchester United to seal a 3-2 win against Southampton at St Mary’s stadium on 20th September 2015.
Born on the 28th April 1988, the Spanish international joined Manchester United on the deadline day in January 2014 for a club-record fee of £37.1 million after falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho.
Since then, Mata has had an impressive goal scoring record which has seen him netting 17 goals since his move from Chelsea.
He has indeed proven to be a vital cog in Louis Van Gaal’s machine, whose team sits just two points behind local rivals Manchester City who tops the English Premier League table with fifteen points.
In August 2011, Mata was convinced by the then Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas to sign for Chelsea at a fee believed to be of €28 million where in his debut season he was part of the team that won the UEFA Champion League in 2012 and the FA Cup.
The following year Chelsea were indebted to win the UEFA Europa League making him and his then team-mate and countryman Fernando Torres the first players to hold the Champion League, Europa League, World Cup and the European Championship simultaneously.
The goal which sealed Manchester United’s victory over the weekend becomes the second goal in English premier league history.
United fans and pundits purred about Mata’s Strike as a perfectly illustrated Luis Van Gaal’s philosophy of which they have been criticizing since the start of the season.
“Fantastic,” said Van Gaal of the move. “And then you can finish it – unbelievable! With that amount of passes you control the game. I always say to the players that the gaps in the defensive organization shall exist when you play a kind of positional game. We did it today and I was very pleased, of course it is confirmation of our philosophy.”