GOING FOR GOLD ... Juan Mata has eyes on another prize
MARATHON man Juan Mata plans to be greedy and secure Olympic gold for a fourth title of an amazing season.
The Chelsea winger has already put Euro 2012, Champions League and FA Cup medals in his trophy cabinet this summer — and he is in no mood to stop there.
He will step out for his 59th outing of the campaign when Spain kick off against Japan in Glasgow next Thursday.
And he insisted: “We’re not just looking for a magic moment.
“We want to win gold to show there is no doubt that Spain are the best soccer nation in the world.
“I’m dreaming of a gold medal to complete my incredible first season in England.
“I never believed that I could win so many titles in just a few months. I am very happy.
“There has been no pressure from Chelsea about playing at the Olympics.
“I spoke with them some months ago about playing at the Euros and then the Games and I don’t believe the extra effort will be a negative for the start of the Premier League season.
“It won’t be a problem. It’s going be very tense but we must challenge for the title.”
Mata, 24, cannot wait to sample the Olympic experience, which is bound to be different to the world of the Premier League he has taken so little time to adapt to and in which he is already a proven success.
He added: “We can cope with the pressure of being favourites. Everyone is talking about a Spain v Brazil final but our opponents are not important to me. We’ll take it match by match.
“Team GB have great players and have the extra advantage of playing at home. They have a chance of winning.
“If Daniel Sturridge is fit, his attacking partnership with Craig Bellamy will trouble anyone.
“It shows just how strong the competition will be at the Games. Spain are lucky to have many players with great experience, though don’t think Jordi Alba, Javi Martinez and me are the saviours for this team. Each player is important and no one is indispensable.
“We are a complete team and don’t rely on individuals.”
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The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|2008||Spain||Germany||Russia / Turkey|
|2004||Greece||Portugal||Netherlands / Czech Republic|
|2000||France||Italy||Netherlands / Portugal|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||France / England|
|1992||Denmark||Germany||Netherlands / Sweden|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||Italy / West Germany|
|1984||France||Spain||Denmark / Portugal|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||Belgium|