Manchester United signing Juan Mata was the best player at Chelsea, says Rafael Benitez
The Spanish playmaker moved to Old Trafford in a big-money deal in January
Juan Mata was the best player at Chelsea, according to their former manager Rafael Benitez.
Many were surprised when Jose Mourinho sanctioned the sale of the playmaker to their Premier League rivals Manchester United. The Spain international moved in a deal worth £37.1m last month.
Mourinho explained at the time that Mata did not fit easily into his preferred system, and while he was not desperate for Mata to leave, he allowed the player to move on in search of more regular football.
Mata won Chelsea's player of the season award for the past two years and Benitez, who has always had a frosty relationship with Mourinho, agrees that Mata was their best player.
"I am not here to talk about Chelsea," he told reporters ahead of his current side Napoli's Europa League tie against Swansea. "But Juan was their best player in the last two years. That is it. You can see that."
Seemingly keen not to start a fresh feud with the Special One, Benitez added: "I am not here to analyse what they (Chelsea) did."
Benitez won the Europa League with Chelsea after being drafted in to replace Roberto Di Matteo, with Mata playing a pivotal role in their European run.
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton disobeys orders and closes gap to Nico Rosberg in title race
Manchester United latest: Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing Angel Di Maria fails to improve
Arsenal: Arrival of Calum Chambers and David Ospina puts Arsène Wenger's spending past £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia