Manchester United have confirmed that Juan Mata is to become the latest senior star to depart Old Trafford as a free agent, with the experienced Spaniard joining Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard in severing ties with the Red Devils.
The World Cup winner linked up with the Red Devils in the winter transfer window of 2014 – becoming one of the final pieces of business carried out by David Moyes during his ill-fated spell in charge of Premier League heavyweights.
The 34-year-old can always be relied upon to give his best to any particular cause, but he has slipped down a creative pecking order over recent seasons and can now ready himself for a new challenge in the latter stages of a distinguished career.
What has Man Utd said about Mata?
A statement on the club’s official website reads: “Manchester United can confirm that Juan Mata will depart the club when his contract expires this summer.
“The 34-year-old midfielder joined the Reds in January 2014 and went on to play 285 games, scoring 51 goals and winning four trophies.
"He made his final appearance in our last fixture of the 2021-22 season, away to Crystal Palace on 22 May.”
How many trophies did Mata win with Man Utd?
The former Valencia and Chelsea star made a switch to Old Trafford as United struggled to come to terms with Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.
He has been unable to force the Red Devils back into Premier League title contention, but does walk away with major honours to his name.
Mata formed part of a squad that savoured FA Cup glory under Louis van Gaal in 2015-16, before collecting three trophies in the following campaign as Jose Mourinho made an immediate impact as manager.
United enjoyed Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League triumphs in 2016-17, before hitting another barren run on the trophy front that has now stands at five years and counting.
The view from Man Utd correspondent James Robson
It is easy to forget the excitement that surrounded Juan Mata's move to Manchester United, late in the transfer window of 2014, when he was a club record signing at £37m ($46m).
He had been a star for Chelsea – but unwanted by Jose Mourinho. United saw him as a No.10 capable of transforming their attack and truly kicking off the stalling David Moyes era.
At the time of his arrival, there was genuine debate as to who was the better player between him and Manchester City’s David Silva.
That has long-since been put to bed.
Mata – like so many United signings – was not helped by the constant upheaval at Old Trafford.
Moyes was gone within three months of his arrival. He worked under four permanent managers – and three more interims/caretakers.
He never replicated the form that made him one of the Premier League’s leading lights at Chelsea.
He felt like a player out of his time, with his lack of pace making it awkward for a series of managers to find a consistent role for him in United’s team.
But he was generally regarded as a positive force in the dressing room, while his charity work with Common Goal – urging footballers to donate one per cent of their earnings to good causes – is a lasting legacy.
On the pitch, he will forever go down in United folklore for one March day in 2015 when two goals against Liverpool silenced Anfield.