Juan Mata has been using this break from football to look back over his career, and despite huge success in his short time at Chelsea, the Spaniard also identified that period as where his lowest point as a footballer was.
Now having racked up a lot of games for Man U, Mata’s status as a “Chelsea” player is fading in the public imagination a little. But his brilliance for us far outshone anything he’s produced for the Red Devils, and the relationship he built here with the fans, winning two player of the year awards in a row, was remarkable.
But it all soured very quickly under Jose Mourinho, and Mata himself noted in an interview on the Manchester United website where he discussed the high and low lights of his career so far:
“The worst [moment] was probably when I was at Chelsea. I was voted, for two years, Player of the Year, I was playing regularly and I was playing very good and enjoying my football and then the situation changed. I stopped playing as much, my confidence was not as high and that was a challenge in my career that I had to overcome.”
It was a bizarre moment, a less than 6 month period where he went from star player to outcast, and was suddenly sold to Man U with limited warning.
It just goes to show the power that Jose Mourinho had over Chelsea fans back then that many were happy to go with the Portuguese’s plan rather than keep their mercurial little gem.