Juan Mata won the Champions League three years ago, but now admits he can barely watch the competition out of pure jealousy.
This season has been a strange one for Manchester United star Mata, as his midweek schedule is filled with nights in front of the television.
The Spanish midfielder can see European football’s biggest club competition unfolding right before his eyes, but he is unable to play any part in it. And that annoys him.
“It’s difficult to watch the games on TV every Tuesday and Wednesday,” the United midfielder said.
“It’s a thought that we all have in our minds — that we need to be back in the Champions League.
“It’s the most attractive competition in the world. We need to be there.
“This is our main objective for the season, to play Champions League again. This club should always play Champions League football.”
It is five years since Mata experienced a season without Champions League football.
In 2012 he was part of the Chelsea team that won the trophy after a nail-biting final in Munich.
The Spaniard missed Chelsea’s first spot-kick, but the Blues won the shoot-out 4-3 and the following day Mata joined his team-mates on a victory parade through London.
Eighteen months later Mata was sold to United. Last Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Mata’s dramatic entrance to Manchester United and he concedes the past 12 months have been eventful.
“Obviously last season was not the best year in the history of the club, but I am very happy here,” the £37.1 million (€49.6m) signing said.
“Since the first day until today I’m very happy with the way the fans and the club and my team-mates have welcomed me.
“I’ve scored some goals, I’ve assisted with some goals. I’m looking forward to doing it more and more and trying to help the team get back to fighting for the title. I think this is what we have to do.”
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