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Juan Mata has signed a new contract with Manchester United – and told Bruno Fernandes he will have to wait if he wants the No8 shirt.
The Spanish midfielder is set to keep his squad number after agreeing a one-year extension with the Premier League giants.
There had been speculation Mata could leave United this summer, having played a bit-part role for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side last term.
But the 33-year-old is now contracted for at least another season – and has promised Fernandes he could be around even longer.
Responding to news that Mata had agreed a new deal, Fernandes posted a cheeky message on Twitter, saying: "I guess I’ll have to wait for the number 8 another year…"
He then congratulated Mata, hailing him as "an inspiration".
"Congrats brother!! Well deserved! An example and an inspiration on and off the pitch," tweeted Fernandes.
Mata responded in an interview by saying Fernandes may have to wait longer than he thinks for the No8 shirt.
"At least another year!" he told United's official website.
“I think he’s happy that I’m staying and I’m happy to be playing with him. We’ve got a great relationship since he came and, of course, he’s been brilliant for us on and off the pitch.
"He’s also a great guy and an example for others. Unfortunately for him, he will have to be patient!”
Mata arrived at Old Trafford from Chelsea in 2014 and has played 273 games for United, scoring 51 goals.
He made just 10 starts in all competitions last season, but is back in training and is expected to feature in the club's pre-season friendlies.
Fernandes is still on holiday having made the last 16 at Euro 2020 with Portugal.
United begin their pre-season schedule against Wayne Rooney's Derby County on July 18, while they also face Old Trafford games against newly promoted Brentford and Rafa Benitez's Everton.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Wayne Rooney
- Premier League
- Euro 2020
- Manchester United FC
- Bruno Fernandes
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