Juan Mata: ‘People underestimate football. It gives hope to so many people’

It’s a little like watching him play football, where his intelligence and vision are obvious, but Mata also arrives at a small hotel in Altrincham with a minimum of fuss.

If Mata is driven by a communal vision of football helping to transform society, the roots of his commitment are deeply personal. He remembers how the loss of his grandfather eight months ago sparked a desire to try to improve less fortunate lives.

“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets...” ― Napoléon Bonaparte