Somewhat unusually, throughout this whole transfer Matastrophe, we rarely if ever heard from any of the major players. Moyes and the United press secretary refused to talk about it. Mourinho and Chelsea didn't bother with it publicly until they had to. Mata himself was on absolute radio silence.
As he's now been officially confirmed as ... a ... well ... you know... Anyway, it's now time for his proper goodbye to us Chelsea fans. And it comes in the form of an emotional letter, posted on his official website. A few excerpts follow, emphasis added:
This letter is written from my heart, and first of all I would like to say that I will never forget all the affection given to me by the Chelsea fans. From the very first day until the last. With your support and affection I have grown up as a player and I have had an amazing time both on and off the pitch. I will always feel the gratitude towards you. Always.
Every message I got through the social media, every nice word you have said to me on the street, and of course, your support in the stadium, has made me feel incredibly proud of the Chelsea fans; you deserve a team like the one you've got, with so many fantastic players. I won't forget the faith you put in me when I was given the player of the year award the last two seasons. I feel really proud and I will never forget those nights. Thank you so much for the way you have treated me, you have been unbelievable.
I hope you understand that after going through a complicated and, for me, new situation in the last few months, I believe this is the best choice in order to carry on with my football career and to keep enjoying this sport.
Before last summer, my intention was to stay here for a long time; as long as the club wanted me to, and to keep winning trophies for Chelsea FC. This is how happy I was in the club and in the city. However, as you all know, things changed after the preseason. From feeling like an important player, I started to experience some difficult situations and I felt unable to help the team to the extent that I wanted and was used to. Obviously, I fully respect the circumstances.
Football is a team sport and it's not easy to play regularly in such a good squad. In sports you may win or lose, but the most important thing is to give everything. I hope you know and feel that I have always done so. In every game, in every training session, without exception. I have always tried my best for the club.
He goes on to thank this (now) ex-teammates, captains, coaches (from André to José), and Roman himself, before closing with a final word of appreciation:
I want to make clear that the stage that now comes to an end has been extremely important for me, personally and professionally. Although many of you, like myself, never thought this moment would come, this is football and a new chapter is about to begin. I would have liked to say good bye to all of you in the stadium, or in a press conference, but it has not been possible. I'm sure, i will be able to do it in the future, because is what you deserve. Evidently, today is a day of mixed feelings, remembering the past and looking forward to the future and what it has to bring. I look forward to being happy and to enjoy what I like the most: play football. I will never forget my time in Chelsea and the affection I take with me, I will keep forever. I wish you the best. A big hug to all of you. THANK YOU so much, Juan
N.B. Mata's site is currently hammered by Internet traffic and is thus experiencing some technical difficulties. Once it's back online, I encourage all of you to read his full letter.