Juan Mata has said he is the ‘proudest man in the world’ having had the chance to represent Manchester United in his public farewell to the club.

The Red Devils have announced that the Spaniard will be leaving Old Trafford at the end of his contract later this month, bringing the curtain down on Mata’s eight and a half year spell with United.

Mata became a peripheral squad figure in recent seasons but remained a fan favourite for his commitment and consideration, and took to social media to express his gratitude and bid farewell.

“It has taken me some time to process the change that is happening in my life, and this is a message that for many moments over the last years I never thought I would be writing,” Mata said.

“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 through this text all the feelings that I’ve been experiencing over the last weeks, but to sum it up, I would like to say that I’m the proudest man in the world for having represented this unique club for the last eight and a half seasons.

“It is something that I never would have dreamed 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’m writing these lines today, I couldn’t be more grateful with what my career has brought to me so far, and I’m as excited as that little kid about what the future might bring from now. The same passion for playing football as that kid’s remains inside of me.

“It goes without saying that I want to thank every member of staff that work in the club and that make it so special, every manager and every teammate that I have crossed paths with during my time in Manchester.

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“We haven’t experienced the best period in the history of the club but we 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.

“For you, our supporters, I don’t really find words to describe how grateful I am and how special you have made me feel. I feel very loved and this is something for what neither me or my family will ever be thankful enough.

“Manchester is and will always be a massive part of my life, on and off the pitch, and I really feel like an adopted Mancunian. Living here and understanding what it means to be part of this singular place in the world and its culture, it’s something truly special. I feel I belong here.

“I wish nothing but the best to the club and the new manager and I really hope this is the start of a new era full of great football, trophies and enjoyment for you our fans, nothing more than you deserve and nothing less than what this football club should be about.

“This is not a ‘goodbye’ but a ‘see you soon’ as I will keep coming to Manchester whenever I can, but for now, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for letting me be part of your history. I am truly honoured and proud and I will always be one of you.”

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