A return full of art

Juan has returned to the city where he shone as a Manchester United player. The reason is his participation in the Manchester International Festival, through a project that combines art and football.

Juan Mata has returned to Manchester. His return to the city where he lived from January 2014 to 2022 -he played 285 games with United- has taken place on the occasion of the Manchester International Festival. Juan participates in the event through the project ‘The Trequartista: Art and Football United.’ A combination of art and football representation through the mythical figure of the ‘trequartista’ (the player who occupies the ’10’ position, as a link between the midfield and the front line).

“Yes, I feel at home,” Juan told the BBC Morning Live team. “I like to do things away from football, sometimes to disconnect. I met people in the art world, and that’s why we started with this.” The Spanish international has prepared the project with the artist Hans Ulrich Obrist. The first step in this initiative is the work ‘This Entry’, by Tino Sehgal, which will be the protagonist at the event. From here, eleven contemporary artists and eleven football players will work for two years in a group show that will premiere in the 2025 edition of the festival.

The play ‘This Entry’ can be seen at the Manchester International Festival until 16 July. Later that month, it can be visited at the National Football Museum and The Whitworth. “It has been a learning process for me, but also an enjoyable journey, and I am enjoying it,” acknowledged Mata.

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