Bruno Fernandes pays tribute to teammate Juan Mata after departure

Bruno Fernandes and Juan Mata were inseparable on the training ground from the moment the pair teamed up at Manchester United.

Now they are set to be split apart, with Mata exiting the club upon the release of his contract.

Fernandes, on international duty with Portugal, took some time out to send a message to his departing teammate.

Fernandes pays tribute to teammate Juan Mata

Fernandes described Mata as a legend, a mentor, and a true friend, and thanked the Spaniard for helping him to settle at Manchester United.

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The duo did not get to play together too often, but when they did, there were moments where a potentially exciting partnership showed signs of blossoming.

Mata though, has rarely been a regular since Fernandes’ arrival at the club, and has only played a bit-part role during this time, and so their on-pitch connection was not as strong as their off-pitch one.

Fernandes has previously made reference to taking Juan Mata’s shirt number when the number 8 leaves, but he felt, rightly, this was a time to pay tribute to the midfielder.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Mata meanwhile tried to explain his thoughts on leaving United via the club website, and said he had lived a dream at Old Trafford.

He said: “It would be impossible for me to express in this text all the feelings that I have been experiencing over the last weeks but, to sum it up, I would like to say I am the proudest man in the world having represented this unique club for the last eight-and-a-half seasons.

“It is something I would never have dreamt of, when I was little, as it felt too distant for a kid in Spain to, one day, play for one of the best clubs in the history of football but, sometimes, reality exceeds dreams.”

Mata officially becomes a free agent on July 1, and is unlikely to be short of offers from clubs around the world looking for his services.

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