By Francisco Delgado
Juan Mata insists that he will be ready to hit the ground running when Chelsea's 2012-13 campaign gets underway, despite his participation in both Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games.
The former Valencia star was part of the Spain squad that triumphed in Poland and Ukraine and, despite only playing three minutes during the whole tournament, is now set to be one of his country's key players at London 2012.
Chelsea get their Premier League season started at Wigan on August 19, just eight days after the men's Olympic final, but Mata, who claimed an FA Cup and Champions League double in his first season at Stamford Bridge last term, is adamant that he will be ready for the big kick-off.
"I don't think this effort will have a negative effect on me for the new season in the Premier League," the 24-year-old said in an exclusive interview with Goal.com. "I am mentally prepared to help the Blues from the first moment. I will be at the coach's disposal whenever he needs me.
|20/1||Juan Mata is 20/1 with William Hill to be the top goalscorer in the Olympic men's football event
Blues team-mate Daniel Sturridge will be representing Team GB at the Games and Mata has revealed that the duo have been talking about a potential meeting in the final on August 11.
"I have exchanged messages with Sturridge and we have said we will see each other in the grand final in London," he added. "We will see what happens.
"Great Britain have a good team and I would include them among the candidates to reach the final. Any team with Ryan Giggs on the pitch is a luxury for football."
Brazil looked impressive in their recent Olympic warm-up victory over Team GB and the attacking midfielder believes that a final between the two illustrious international sides would be "incredible", but admits that he is not obsessed with winning the tournament.
He continued: "A Spain-Brazil final would be incredible because of the level of the two teams and the players, but at the moment I would just be happy to be in the final and I don't care who we face.
"Spain winning the gold medal at the Games in London is not an obsession. As in all of the competitions played by the national team, you have to accept that extra pressure, but it will not be at all easy and we have to take it game by game.
"The Olympic Games tend to produce more surprises, so we will have to be especially careful with teams from Africa or Asia, who could make life difficult for us in any game."
Mata is joined in the Spain squad by new Barcelona signing Jordi Alba as well as Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez, although the Stamford Bridge star played down suggestions that the trio are any better than their teammates.
"I laugh when I read in the press about me, Jordi or Javi," the Blues star added. "We are not the Supermen of the team.
"We are not worried about people comparing us with the full Spain team. It's normal but we are two different teams.
"Many of us players in the Spanish team have been playing together for years and that is positive. The adaptation and the connection on the pitch is more favourable for us."
The 24-year-old concluded that it would be a "dream" to win the Olympics and that it would cap a perfect first season in England.
"I sincerely dream of winning the gold medal and closing a first season in England that I had never even dreamed of," Mata enthused. "Now I am happy but within a few weeks I could be even happier."