Cut out to be a Legend – Juan Mata
|Cut out to be a Legend – Juan Mata|
“We have young players, for example like me, who want to be as good as them [Chelsea legends] in the history of Chelsea. I wish I will be like Frank Lampard or like John Terry in the next years.” – Juan Mata.
Last year’s Player of the Season and well on his way to picking it up again this year, from the looks of it so far, Juan Mata has ever so rarely had a ‘bad’ game for Chelsea. With a whopping 30 assists and 18 goals into his Chelsea career and an ever growing fan base, Mata seems to have cemented his place at the Bridge, but is he legend material?
Well, he certainly looks like it.
After literally rescuing us from defeat at AVB’s hands last Saturday, for one, Mata is proving to be quite a big game player. Scored a brace and assisted Sturridge at White Hart Lane. Scored the match-winner and set up Torres for the opener at the Emirates. Broke the deadlock at an increasingly frustrating fixture at Nordsjaelland. Set up Ashley Cole for the winner against Stoke with a delightful flick – later in the season, we shall realise the value of those 3 points. It’s almost like he’s filling one of the many big gaps left by King Drogba – showing up on big days. Maybe he was subdued in the first few matches but only because unlike the rest of the players, he had been on duty for Spain for literally throughout the summer, participating in the Olympics right after the Euros. The break requested by Chelsea worked well and he came out firing all cylinders against Nordsjaelland and Arsenal, but his exclusion after his return to peak from the Spain squad still remains a mystery unraveled.
If we take a closer look at his playing techniques, yes, I am going to make the same comparison you’ve probably heard a million times over, but he does seem to be a reincarnation of sorts of our very own Gianfranco Zola, the Italian who took England by storm in the 90s and early 00s, before the Roman era. Going past the striking resemblance in height, both these magicians had/have a low centre of gravity, excellent ball control, a helluva striking foot and obviously ingenious vision. Zola was a cult hero at the Bridge, being voted our best ever player and Mata is already making quite a place for himself in Chelsea fans’ hearts. And here’s one for the trivia lovers – Zola scored a peach of a goal against Norwich – the 3rd in the match for Chelsea. 9 odd years later, Juan Mata scores a neat finish against Norwich too and guess what? It was the 3rd Chelsea goal too.
Another remarkable attribute that Mata carries is his congeniality and his willingness to interact with the fans. With over 1.4 million followers on Twitter and 685k likes on facebook, Mata constantly updates the fans about his own life and of course the happenings around the club. He also runs a blog called One Hour Behind, in which he expands on his life in England and how he keeps up with the occurrings in Spain. After all, as a player, the rapport you have with the fans is a vital factor to being considered legendary.
All in all, Juan Mata, in simple words, has the humongous potential of being the very core and fulcrum of Chelsea’s future. And at the rate at which he seems to be going, there will be no stopping him from becoming exactly that..
Priya Ramesh (@footballogist)