The 31-year-old star reveals why he signed Man United deal despite Barcelona interest

Juan Mata has revealed that his motivation for signing a two-year contract extension at Manchester United was to help the club get back to ‘where it belongs’.

The 31-year-old’s deal with United expired at the end of last season, but unlike his Spanish compatriot Ander Herrera who moved to PSG on a free transfer, Mata opted to stay at Old Trafford.

Mata had been linked with a return to his homeland with Barcelona said to be one of a number of clubs interested in signing him prior to his decision to commit his future to United.

And Mata has insisted that he wants to help the club change the town ‘red’ and end Manchester City’s recent dominance over the next two years.

‘There were many things, the first thing is the feeling of belonging to this club, it’s something special, unique,’ he told MUTV.

‘We know there are three or four big clubs in Europe and United is one of them. Despite it not being the best moment in our history, even though we have won trophies, that feeling of waking up every day and feeling like a Red Devil is unbelievable so I wanted to keep feeling that.

‘I wanted to stay, I wanted to keep giving my best to bring United where it belongs. I’ve been here more than five years and I realise how amazing the supporters are even in the tough moments.

‘So I cannot imagine if we win a big trophy how it would be, how the town will change red. I imagine myself in that situation so that is another reason why I wanted to stay.

‘I’ve lived difficult moments but I am really looking forward to living great moments with this club. Despite all that I wanted to stay. I wanted to commit to the club and keep enjoying wearing this shirt and keep trying my best.’

Since joining United in a £37.1m deal from Chelsea in January 2014, Mata has gone on to make 218 appearances in all competitions, scoring 45 goals.