Mata has 'many more years' left him as Barcelona interest emerges

Juan Mata Man Utd 2018
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The Manchester United midfielder is approaching the end of his current contract and appears set to have several future options available to him

Juan Mata believes he has “many more years” left him, with the Manchester United midfielder attracting interest from Barcelona.

Goal revealed on Thursday that the Spain international is registering on the recruitment radar of those at Camp Nou.

His contract at Old Trafford is running down and if no extension is agreed, he will drop into the free agent pool this summer.

The potential availability of a World Cup winner, even at 30 years of age, has piqued the interest of Barca, while Arsenal continue to be mooted as another possible landing spot.

Mata has offered no clue as to where he sees his future, but he is intending to compete at the highest level for several seasons to come.

He told the Premier League’s official website: “I've been playing football for a long time now but I still feel young, mentally and physically.

“I still feel that I have a lot of football in my mind and in my legs, and hopefully I can play for many more years.”

Mata has shown his worth to United again this season amid fierce competition for places.

He has started only nine Premier League games, but has registered two goals and as many assists.

Five efforts have been recorded in total across all competitions, with one against Fulham in December taking him to 50 in the English top-flight.

Juan Mata Manchester United 2018-19

That haul has been achieved across spells with Chelsea and United, with his account opened on his Blues debut against Norwich in August 2011.

“It felt so far away,” Mata said of his half-century.

“It was important for me to score in the first game. From that moment it was a bit closer but 50 goals is a good mark, especially for someone who is not a striker. I'm proud of it.

“I remember also my first goal with Manchester United against Aston Villa, in front of the Stretford End at Old Trafford, which was a dream as well.”

Mata hit 20 goals in his second season with Chelsea and has reached double figures on three occasions for United.

He has often been a man for the big occasion, with memories of his stunning brace against Liverpool at Anfield in March 2015 still fresh in the mind of Red Devils supporters.

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“It's always nice to score against Liverpool,” said Mata.

“All the United fans remember that goal [an acrobatic bicycle kick] still.”

Mata may be back in action on Friday, with United preparing to head to Emirates Stadium for an FA Cup fourth round clash with Arsenal.