Mata: Family values can lead Spain to glory

The Manchester United man believes the familiarity among the group is la Roja’s biggest strength as they look to become only the second nation to retain the World Cup

Juan Mata says the familiarity among the Spain players is their biggest strength ahead of the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Vicente Del Bosque’s 2010 winners head to South America next month hoping to match Italy and Brazil’s achievements of retaining a World Cup title.

And Mata feels having a core of players that have played together for years, both at club and international level, has played a key role in their triumphs.

“I think we are like a family,” he told Laureus.

“We’ve known each other for a long time and we’ve played together for the last six to eight years so we feel really comfortable between us and I think this is the key.

“If we can win this World Cup, winning the South African one and two Euros in a row we will be talking about the most successful national team.

“I think there are a lot of good teams. Probably Brazil who are the favourites and then Argentina, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, England, I think they can all try to win.”

Mata describes winning the World Cup four years ago as his fondest football memory, but it is testament to Spain’s embarassment of riches that the gifted playmaker is not guaranteed a place in Vicente Del Bosque’s final party of 23.

“Probably I have the best memories that I have in my career winning the World Cup the first time for Spain and being part of the squad was probably my best moment in my career and one of the best moments in my life,” he added.

“I think it’s a privilege for a player to be here, to be in the 23 that travel to the World Cup and I will try my best as I always do.”

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