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Exclusive: Valencia legend Angulo lauds 'cunning' Mata for Man Utd, Chelsea career

Valencia legend Miguel Angel Angulo has heaped praise on former teammate Juan Mata.

Angulo was a veteran at Los Che when Mata was given his opportunity to shine after arriving from Real Madrid Castilla in 2007.

The Spaniard spent four years at the Mestalla before Chelsea came calling in 2011.

It was at Stamford Bridge where the attacking midfielder made a name for himself around Europe after helping the Blues win the 2011/12 Champions League final.

Despite being a fan favourite, Mata fell out with manager Jose Mourinho and was sold to Manchester United in January 2014.

Back in his days in La Liga, Mata gained valuable first-team experience thanks to Angulo's fall-out with then-Valencia boss Ronald Koeman.

When asked about Mata's career since, Angulo said the 32-year-old had fulfilled his potential in England, while praising his personality off the field.

He told Tribalfootball.com: "[Juan Mata] is a cunning and daring player who is also capable of getting into the opposition's area with ease.

"He's a player that can play in different positions, which has made him an even better player over the years. I believe that he has achieved his potential in England.

"He left Spain quite young, where he was shining in La Liga. The English could see his great potential and that he was different kind of player too.

"Initially, Chelsea signed Mata and eventually he ended up with Manchester United where he established himself in the Premier League.

"With his quality and character, he is a player that could play in any team. He's a player that left his mark at Valencia CF and was much loved here for his character and style and his whole way of being as a professional footballer.

"He is 'buena gente.' A really good person and a really great footballer too."

Mata signed a contract with United last summer to 2021.

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Will McCarthy

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