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Most Chelsea fans find Juan Mata to be that excellent combination of brilliant and adorable. It's difficult not to like him. He's a magical player who possesses a shy, almost cute charisma off the pitch. Seeing him happy, with Spain or the Blues, tends to make us happy.
Which is why I'm not thrilled that Vicente del Bosque has opted to leave him out of the Spain side again. The World Cup-winning manager has claimed that there's no place in the squad for the 24-year-old:
We could not find him a place. We have enough players for the games. We have chosen those that we think are the best to compete in these matches.
Which looks to me like a slight mistake. Mata's good enough to play, and on merit he should be in the team. It won't actually matter, because Spain are Spain, but it's the principle of the thing. But taking a step back, it's pretty clear that this is a good thing as far as Chelsea are concerned.
Since being convinced by Roberto di Matteo to take a few week's rest, Mata's been back to top form, playing like he did in the earliest days of his Chelsea career. The grind of a full twelve months of football (he was with the national team for Euro 2012 and the 2012 Olympics) had clearly worn him down, and he's been rejuvenated by not playing as often this season. So, if Spain don't want him to play, that's fine by me. It just leaves more in the tank for the Blues.