Juan Mata has signed for Turkish giants Galatasaray on a two-year deal having left Manchester United earlier in the summer. The 34-year-old’s eight-and-a-half year stay at old Trafford came to an end last season upon the expiry of his contract, but he was in no rush to sign for a new club.
Mata was linked with a number of teams in the summer including ones in Turkey and his native Spain, as well as United’s old rivals Leeds. Upon signing for Galatasaray, Mata said:
‘Everyone told me what a nice atmosphere this place has. I’m waiting for the moment when I will experience this. ‘I can’t w atmosphere this place has. I’m waiting for the moment when I will experience this. ‘I can’t wait to fight in front of our fans. Galatasaray is the team with the greatest success in Turkey.
‘It is also a club that has a place in the history of football. Thank you everyone for the warm welcome.’ ait to fight in front of our fans. Galatasaray is the team with the greatest success in Turkey. ‘It is also a club that has a place in the history of football. Thank you everyone for the warm welcome.’
The transfer window in Turkey closed on Thursday and it proved to be a busy deadline day for Galatasaray who made five signings in total including Mata and star striker Mauro Icardi from PSG on loan. Earlier in the window, they also brought in veteran forward Dries Mertens on a free from Napoli and defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira from Arsenal for £5.4million.
Mata will link up with three ex-Premier League players, namely Torreira, former Crystal Palace left- back Patrick van Aanholt and winger Milot Rashica who is on loan from Norwich. Having come through Real Madrid’s academy, Mata first made a name for himself at Valencia before joining Chelsea in 2011.
The attacking midfielder was a huge hit at Stamford Bridge, winning Chelsea’s Player of the Year award in both of his full seasons in west London. With the Blues, he lifted the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League but eventually fell out of favour with manager Jose Mourinho and departed for Manchester in January 2014.
He was never quite as good for United as he was for Chelsea, but nevertheless helped the Red Devils win the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
Over the course of his United career, Mata made 285 appearances, scored 51 goals and made 47 assists. He was also a star for his country, having been part of the incredible Spain side that won the World Cup in 2010 and the Euros in 2012.