Juan Mata's Class Act With A Young Disabled Manchester United Fan
Recently a video of Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata embracing a disabled child went viral. The Spanish midfielder took time out, holding up the team bus, to speak to and pose for photographs with Alex Nield, a young Red Devil.
Mata may not be as good a player as Philippe Coutinho, but he's certainly a class act. [Editor's note: Sorry, he's a deluded Liverpool fan. Still talks about Joe Allen as if he's a demi-God].
Jon Nield, Alex's dad, was there when Mata ran over to see his son. It turns out, though, it wasn't their first meeting - the United man remembered him from a game against Norwich last season.
Credit: Jon Nield
"Alex had previously met Juan after the Norwich game last season and he recognised him and came running over to see him," Jon told TheLADbible.
Jon and Alex had gone to Old Trafford to meet up with their friend Leon, who took the video and told them the players were being picked up by the Stretford End of the ground.
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"We shot round to Stretford End and noticed a large queue of people who were waiting for autographs but the stewards kindly allowed us to wait the opposite side," Jon said. "We had popped down to Old Trafford to meet Leon who is a friend of ours from Australia, who had bought Alex the black United goalkeeper top he was wearing."
Credit: Jon Nield
Even though the footballer had already made Alex's day, he went a bit further with his actions by trying to get him into the Stoke game last week.
Jon told TheLADbible: "Alex was over the moon; he was so excited. Mata had asked Alex if he was going to the Stoke game, but because he missed out on the ballot he asked me for my number so he could try and sort him a place."
There's usually a general perception of footballers - that they're money grabbing, selfish and up their own arse - but Mata has certainly blown that out of the water. Class.
"Juan is a top bloke and totally genuine," Jon said. "You can see the joy in Alex's face; it makes me smile every time I look at it."
Alex also appeared in a documentary last year called 'We Are United: The Story of MUDSA' which should be watched by any football fan, no matter which team you support. Mata also briefly appears in the film, which has since been nominated for the Royal Television Society award for Best Low Budget programme. The awards are on November 12 in Manchester.
Featured image credit: Jon Nield