Juan Mata gave a very interesting interview with Paneka Magazine recently. The Spanish international warned that football is in danger of 'losing its essence' and insists children are now more interested in haircuts and boots than the game itself. The thoughts of Mata come left of field given the midfielder is usually a reserved figure when it comes to his opinions. Speaking to Paneka Magazine Mata was quoted with the following views.
Mata said "I see children now and many things surprise me: they ask me about my boots and why I don't die my hair. I wonder "Why don't you talk to me about how to cross the ball, control it, the position of the body when I strike the ball?"
'Previously, kids wanted a ball; nowadays they want boots and jerseys, they don't have a ball and they cannot play too much. Yet they don't mind because they can show off their boots and shirt and that's enough. Football is losing its essence, people talk about celebrations instead of goals.
'I am not criticising people talking about boots or haircuts but I would ask that people talk more about the other stuff, about the game itself."
The interview continued with Mata being asked for his opinions on Social Media
Speaking about Social Media Mata said
'New boots and videos filmed by players have the biggest reach and I get it to a certain extent but the footballer has changed,' Mata reflected. 'I am not so old but when I started out, we had none of this. We did not have the need to show the things we do and the good life we lead. That is dangerous. Social networks can be very positive because it's a great vehicle to communicate but perhaps things need to be done in a different way.'
Asked who can put the breaks on it, Mata insisted: 'The clubs should do it. It's about taking football back to its roots. If not, all that is left is to start training with a mobile phone in our hands and filming us doing freestyle touches, which during a real game isn't really effective.'
It seems Mata is also eyeing up a future in management.
'I would like to play until I'm 40 if my body allows me to,' he said. 'I will carry on with Common Goal. And management tempts me but it is an unforgiving role. A coach depends on whether I take a corner well or finish a chance in front of goal and really, what influence does he have over this when it happens?
'I understand that people take decisions under pressure but the process is not valued, only results. I also want to work with youngsters, warn them of the perils and remind them of their responsibilities because it is sometimes easy to fall off the right track needed to get to the top level. Psychology also attracts me and in football, the mental aspect is very important, because if the mind is not settled, the feet do not work either.'