Juan Mata open to extending Man United stay, eyes playing until 40
MANCHESTER -- Juan Mata has told ESPN FC he would like to extend his stay at Manchester United and has not ruled out playing until he is 40 years old.
The Spain international's current contract expires next summer, although United hold an option to keep him at the club until 2019.
Mata says he would like to remain at Old Trafford, and when asked whether he would like to sign a new long-term deal and finish his career at the club, the midfielder insists he is open to all possibilities.
He told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview: "Why not? I'm 29 and hopefully I can play football for some more years. It would be great to play until I'm 40 like Ryan Giggs. But that's still a bit far, still 11 years.
"I'm happy here. The club is massive, the support we have is massive. I've been settled down in the city since year one. Now it's my fourth year in Manchester.
"You never know what can happen in football and in life. But my feeling now is that I'm happy here and I wouldn't have any problem continuing here for more time."
Mata moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea for a then club-record fee of £37.1 million in January 2014. As he closes in on his fourth anniversary at the club, he has made 159 appearances, scoring 37 goals, and won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
He is hopeful he can extend his playing career for another decade. And as for his plans after retirement, Mata revealed he has not ruled out becoming a manager.
"If you had asked me a few years ago whether I wanted to be a manager, I would say no," he said. "I think every footballer, after 20 years playing football, the first thing that comes to your mind is to relax.
"One, two years gap and do other things in life and enjoy other hobbies you might have. Right now, with years of understanding the game better, understand more the tactical approach or communicate with teammates, how to motivate them, I wouldn't say no to becoming a manager but I don't know."
Mata comes from a footballing family -- his father, Juan Sr., was a player -- and he would like to stay in the game once he hangs up his boots.
He has also not ruled out taking on a more central role with Common Goal, the project he supports by donating one percent of his wage to charity.
"I would like to be associated with football somehow," he added. "I like the Common Goal initiative, the vision of football as a tool for social change and the power football has to improve the world.
"It might be in that direction and I think I would really enjoy it. I don't know yet. I have time to think about it."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.