I make no effort to hide the fact that Mata is by far my favourite Chelsea player and probably my favourite human being who I don't know personally. I have tweeted before that Mata is the type of guy who you would want your daughter to marry.
He once told the Daily Mail that his idol was Steve Jobs and that he would spend many hours pondering why Jobs used to only eat fruit and vegetables, a concept he still struggles with apparently. He also revealed that he is studying for two different degrees at the University of Madrid, he enjoys backpacking in the Spanish countryside and has a personal blog about his life in London that he edits himself. He does all this on top of carrying Chelsea through most matches.
He seems to me to be very much down to earth, there is no hint of him being a prima donna unlike a few of his Chelsea team-mates.
He has often publicly backed Fernando Torres to come good as well as offering his support for AvB, RDM and Benitez. How does he manage to be so nice all the time?
On the pitch, not only is he Chelsea's best and most important player, he is seemingly universally adored, even by fans of rival clubs! Do you know how rare that is? It is almost unheard of for rivals fans to like a Chelsea player. You get people who feel sorry for Torres but that's about it. Of course you have the John Terry and Ashley Cole fan club as well.
The only person I know who doesn't like Mata is Yaya Toure and for that reason I do not like Yaya Toure.
What isn't there to like about Mata?!
I didn't think it was possible for him to go up in my estimations but then I recently met up with a school friend who works in a bar underneath Mata's penthouse in London.
He was telling me how Mata only ever drinks bottled water, even when he's out with his friends. Even on New Years Eve when Mata was in there with his family, who apparently ordered bottle after bottle of expensive champagne, Mata was still only drinking bottled water. Clearly a model professional at all times.
People often ask my friend if it actually is Mata before they approach him but when they do Mata is always welcoming to people asking for autographs or pictures. He often leaves tips, engages in conversation with the staff and has never been rude to anyone in the bar.
You might be thinking that such a well paid and lucky individual should treat people with respect and be welcoming at all times but I imagine Mata is part of a minority of footballers who treat people like that. John Carew is also a regular visitor the bar and sadly doesn't treat everyone quite like Mata does.
I wasn't at all surprised at what my friend was telling me, it was exactly what I would have expected to hear about Mata. He is clearly a class act on and off the pitch and I believe we are unbelievably lucky to have him at this football club.