Born in Burgos, Castile and León (where his father played at the time), but raised in Oviedo, Asturias, Mata started his football career at Real Oviedo, where his father spent most of his career. He stayed there for three years before joining Real Madrid at age 15. After appearing for Cadete A, he swiftly progressed through the junior teams, Juvenil C and finally the Juvenil A. In his last campaign (2005–06) he scored 18 goals in the league and three more in the Copa de Campeones, including the winner in the final against Real Valladolid, adding another three in the Spanish Juvenil Cup.

Switching to Real Madrid Castilla in 2006–07, Mata was given the number 34 shirt in the first team, while wearing number 28 in Castilla. In spite of Castilla's final second division relegation, Mata finished the season as the side's second best scorer at nine, behind striker Álvaro Negredo (18).

Mata had a contractual clause at Real Madrid during his last season at the club, and eventually agreed to sign for Valencia CF on March 2007, starting in 2007–08.

Benefitting from constant injuries to Vicente and the ostracism to which then-manager Ronald Koeman condemned Miguel Ángel Angulo, Mata gradually carved a niche on Valencia's first eleven. On March 20, 2008, he scored twice in the Spanish Cup semifinal match against FC Barcelona to help Valencia reach the final against Getafe CF where, on April 16, he scored the opener in a 3–1 win. During that first season, Mata was voted the team's Best young player by fans and players alike.

In the Spanish Supercup, Mata scored against his former club Real Madrid in a 3–2 first leg victory, but Valencia lost 5–6 on aggregate as Real Madrid won 4–2 in the second leg. He started 2008–09 well, scoring in the opener against RCD Mallorca (3–0 win). He also netted the only goal of the game against CA Osasuna, latching on to a long ball from David Villa.

On 25 September 2008, Mata's understanding with Villa proved to be growing in efficiency, as he set up both of his teammate's goals in a 2–0 away win over Málaga CF. Three days later, Mata put in a superb performance against Deportivo de La Coruña, scoring one and creating the other three, in a 4–2 home victory.

Towards the end of the campaign, Mata managed to score two very important late goals for Valencia: the first, the 3–2 winner at Sporting de Gijón, and the second a penalty against Sevilla FC at home, to put Valencia 2–1 up (specialist Villa had already been replaced due to injury) in an eventual 3–1 success. He achieved impressive stats during the season, finishing with 11 successful strikes and 13 assists (in the latter category, league's second-best, behind FC Barcelona's Xavi).

Mata helped Spain win the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, where he was a key player. 'Juanín' finished the championship second to his teammate Alberto Bueno (five goals) as top goal scorer of the competition, with four in five matches.

On 1 February 2007, under-21 coach Iñaki Sáez included him on his squad for the friendly against England, alongside Roberto Soldado, José Manuel Jurado, Sergio Sánchez, Miguel Torres, Esteban Granero, and Antonio Adán, at just 18 years and 10 months.

On 14 November 2008, Vicente del Bosque called Mata for the senior team to play in a friendly against Chile. He did not leave the bench in a 3–0 home win. On 28 March 2009, he finally made his debut, in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Turkey, a 1–0 win in Madrid. He came on as a substitute for teammate Villa, in the 63rd minute.

In June 2009, del Bosque included Mata for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, the youngster's first senior tournament. He started in the second group match against Iraq, and came on as a substitute for Albert Riera in the semi-final loss to the United States.

On 9 September 2009, Mata scored his first goal for the senior team, as the 3–0 win against Estonia secured a place in the World Cup in South Africa. He followed this up with the winner against Armenia on 10 October, scoring a penalty to steal a 2–1 win. Picked for the final stages, he appeared once for the eventual champions, replacing Fernando Torres for the final 20 minutes of the 2–0 group stage win against Honduras.

Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Juan Manuel Mata
Full name: Juan Manuel Mata García
Date of birth: 28 April 1988
Place of birth: Burgos, Spain
Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position: Winger / Midfielder

Club information
Current club: Valencia

Youth career
2000–2003 Oviedo
2003–2006 Real Madrid

Senior career
2006–2007 Real Madrid B 39 (10)
2007– Valencia 118 (30)

National team
2004 Spain U16 3 (2)
2004 Spain U17 2 (1)
2006–2007 Spain U19 13 (12)
2007 Spain U20 5 (3)
2007– Spain U21 15 (3)
2009– Spain 11 (4)


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