He said WHAT? Chelsea’s Juan Mata on Arsenal admiration, Lampard the legend and perfect Di Matteo

June 28th 2009, Fernando Torres: “We [Liverpool] have some very good players but maybe we need other players. I hope Liverpool will bring people like Silva, Mata or Villa. These are small players with quality like United had with Carlos Tevez and also with Paul Scholes. They are clever players and maybe they can make the difference. Yossi Benayoun plays like these players and I hope we can bring more like that. I have recommended the names to Benitez and I hope we have the money.”

October 29th 2009, Juan Mata: “This matter is all down to the club and my agent. Rafa Benitez is a big coach but I just want to concentrate on my game without any distractions.”

June 17th 2010, Juan Mata: “I don’t know if I’ll be sold, it depends on the economic situation of the club, which right now isn’t so good. In the summer we have to raise a lot of money, and there is a possibility that they may have to sell players. In Spain they show many Premier League games on TV and it is an inspirational league. Maybe I would like to play in the Premier League. At the moment I’m here, I love living in Valencia and playing in the Spanish league, but in England the league is also top class and there are many big teams. Who knows? I admire Arsenal and the philosophy that the young players have. Liverpool, with their Spanish players – they also have an incredible squad. And Manchester United and Chelsea are teams that are very big, like Real Madrid and Barcelona, with money and incredible players.”

October 9th 2010, Juan Mata: “This is a clear signal that the club has confidence in me and in my work but the deal is still not closed. To sign the new deal it will be a big joy. I am content and I hope to stay for many years in Valencia. Now i am living my best moment and the team have begun the season brilliantly.”

July 21st 2011, Juan Mata: I have never said I want to leave. From here to August 31, if there are any offers then the first to know about it will be the club. I never said I wasn’t happy here. There’s no point speaking about suppositions. I like to talk about realities. I am very relaxed because if there is anything, the club will assess it.”

July 30th 2011, Harry Redknapp: “The chairman has been dealing with it. He is a player we [Tottenham Hotspur] like, obviously, so do Arsenal, so do a few other clubs, but where it’s all at I don’t know. He’s a player I went and saw when England played Spain Under 21s and I thought he looked fantastic. Whether anything happens I wouldn’t be sure, the chairman is the only person who has been dealing with those transfers.”

August 1st 2011, Juan Manuel Mata Rodriguez (Mata’s father): “Valencia simply rejected their offer. After some hesitation they answered ‘no’ to the Gunners’ offer. So my son remains a Valencia player, for now. But I don’t think it’s their last offer. There are several offers for Mata and I think that Arsenal will come forward again. The situation is still evolving. Are Inter Milan one of the interested teams? I know my son holds Milan in high esteem. We’ll see if Inter will come forward directly.”

August 21st 2011: Mata signs for Chelsea

August 23rd 2011, Juan Mata: “I want to come to England to win trophies – and that’s why I accepted Chelsea’s offer. It was also a question of sporting achievement, not money. Arsenal and Tottenham were both interested in me but they did not compare with the Blues. I want the Premier League title and this is possible at Chelsea. Fernando Torres helped influence my decision but speaking directly with Villas-Boas was the decisive factor. He explained how his style will be based on 4-3-3 and how important I will be to his plans. Frank Lampard is a monster of a footballer to play alongside and the prospect of that is incredible.”

August 23rd 2011, Harry Redknapp: “We were in for Mata and close to doing a deal. But he didn’t come and Chelsea came in. Obviously they can blow you out of the water wage wise, and then he changes his mind and they get him. It’s all about wages.”

December 13th 2011, Juan Mata: “Lampard is a legend here, a legend who keeps on providing a lot of good to the club. He is a great presence to have in the dressing room and, for me, he is a standard-bearer for the entire world of football. I have only known him a few months but he is a great guy and he has been very accommodating to all the new players coming in. He has the experience to remain calm, even when he’s not playing, to know that there will be times when he will play because there are so many games. He still has a lot to give. He will score a lot of goals and play a lot of games this season, I’m sure.”

January 4th 2012, Juan Mata: “It’s true we’ve had a little crisis of results,” said Mata. “But Villas-Boas is doing things very well and both the players and the club have a lot of confidence in him. He won everything with Porto last year. I get along with the coach and he tries to talk to every player in his own language.”

May 20th 2012, Juan Mata: “It’s a dream come true. It’s my first year here at Chelsea and we have won the most important trophy in the final of the Champions League so we are very, very happy. I think the most important moment in the game was the goal of Didier. We were losing with almost 90 minutes on the clock and we got back in the game. During extra-time we ran a lot and we defended well. Penalties are a lottery and it was amazing for us.”

October 23rd 2012, Juan Mata: “Robbie knows very well the team, Robbie knows very well the club as well. He is a legend here. And now, as a manager, he connects very well with the team, in every meeting, in every speech, he goes deep inside every one of us, talking about every game. I think it’s very important to be ready for every competition, for the Premier League and now for the Champions League. He knows how important it is for the club to play these kinds of games, to win again the Champions League like last season. So, I think for us, he’s the perfect manager.”

November 22nd 2012, Juan Mata: “Rafa Benitez is a great coach. He’s got lots of experience and won a lot of trophies with Liverpool, taking them to a very high level. He knows the Premier League too.”

December 4th 2012, Juan Mata: “We are trusting him because Rafa wants the best for the team. If we want to win the Club World Cup, or the Premier League or the other competitions, we have to do better. Rafa is a very experienced manager and he’s trying to help us. We’re trying to help him.”