Juan Mata has sent an emotional message to Manchester United fans as he leaves the club after eight years.
The Spaniard joined the Reds in January 2014 from Premier League rivals, Chelsea, and has been a key member of the team since then.
The 34-year-old played his last match for United in their last fixture of the 2021/22 season, away to Crystal Palace on 22 May.
“It has taken me some time to process the change that is happening in my life,” wrote Mata. “This is a message that, for many moments over the last years, I never thought I would be writing but, of course, all good things come to an end and my time as a Manchester United player has just finished.
“It would be impossible for me to express in this text all the feelings that I have been experiencing over the last weeks but, to sum it up, I would like to say I am the proudest man in the world having represented this unique club for the last eight-and-a-half seasons.
“It is something I would never have dreamt of, when I was little, as it felt too distant for a kid in Spain to, one day, play for one of the best clubs in the history of football but, sometimes, reality exceeds dreams.
“As I am writing these lines today, I couldn’t be more grateful with what my career has brought to me, so far, and I am as excited as that little kid about what the future might bring from now on, the same passion for playing football as that kid remains inside of me.
“It goes without saying, I want to thank every staff member who works in the club that makes it so special, every manager, every team-mate I have crossed paths with in my time at Manchester United. We haven’t experienced the best period in the history of the club but I did have some amazing memories along the way, in the form of trophies and special moments together that will stay forever in my mind.
“Thank you all. I will miss you.
Mata leaves the club after eight years, having played 285 games, scoring 51 goals.
In addition, the Spanish midfielder won the FA Cup, League Cup, and Europa League titles.
He follows Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard through the exit door at Man United at the end of their contracts.