Mata was surprisingly left out of Jose Mourinho’s 18-man squad for the defeat to Chelsea on Sunday sparking questions about his long-term future at Old Trafford, especially because his contract expires next summer.
It is understood that Real want the Spain international midfielder to spark fresh impetus into their faltering season.
Mata started his career as a youngster at the Bernabeu before making a name for himself at Valencia and then Chelsea.
Mourinho sold Mata to United during his second spell at Stamford Bridge and even though he was a regular last season when United won the League Cup and Europa League double, he has not been as effective this season and continues to be played wide rather than in his favoured ‘No 10’ position.
Significantly, he has been substituted in each of his 11 starts this season.
He is 30 in April and United could be willing to listen to offers in January to avoid him leaving on a free in the summer.
Fans favourite Mata was humiliatingly hauled off at half-time of the recent shock defeat at Huddersfield after a mistake that led to one of the Terriers’ goals.
He was then an unused sub for the home win over Tottenham and then left out of the 18 for the Chelsea game altogether, although he did travel to London with the squad.
Real are keeping an eye on developments as they prepare to make their move as soon as the transfer window opens in January.
Mata insists he is still at the peak of his powers and feels he can perform at the highest level for years to come.
“It’s gone quickly to be honest. I made my professional debut when I was 18 in Real Madrid’s second team, and then in Valencia in the first division when I was 19,” Mata said.
“So it’s 10 years which went really, really quickly.
“Time flies, in general but, in football, even more. But I see myself young in a way, you know, my body feels good, my mind feels good.
“I’m hungry to keep enjoying this sport. So hopefully, all being well, I can be playing football for many more years.
“You just have to be professional – as I have been – and take care of your body, because your body is your tool to perform at the good level for many years.
“I think it is so important that you don’t take anything for granted.
“You must wake up every day feeling lucky and privileged and go to training with the best motivation, because anything can change in one second.
“So don’t taking anything for granted, even in football.”
Published at Tue, 07 Nov 2017 22:32:33 +0000