Juan Mata to Donate 1% of His Wages to Charity, Calls on Footballers to Follow

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2017

CARSON, CA - JULY 15: Juan Mata #8 of Manchester United during the Los Angeles Galaxy's friendly match against Manchester United at the StubHub Center on July 15, 2017 in Carson, California.  Manchester United won the match 5-2. (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has pledged to donate 1 per cent of his earnings to charity and called on his fellow players to follow suit and "define a shared social agenda for football." 

Writing for the Players' Tribune, Mata said he will give up part of his wages to Common Goal, a fund that supports football charities, and he visited Mumbai ahead of the new season as part of the scheme.

He explained his hopes for the project:

"One of the first lessons I learned in football is that it takes a team to win a game. We live by this mantra on the pitch, yet we rarely see it play out in the social impact space, which is dominated by individual initiatives.

"Through Common Goal we're creating a collaborative way for football to give back to society. I urge my fellow players to get involved. What we're trying to do is define a shared social agenda for football.

"Common Goal goes beyond individual brands and egos to deliver a greater impact. By making the pledge, we can form a lasting connection between football as a business and football as a tool for social change."

Per Sid Lowe in the Guardian, Common Goal funds 120 charities in 80 countries around the world. Mata's hope is it will become a given for one per cent of all the money generated by football to be donated for charitable purposes. "A voluntary act ends up built into the structure of the game, something that's there at all levels," the United midfielder said. "If FIFA and UEFA embrace it, that would be great."

The Spaniard's pledge has been welcomed by many, including The Times' Henry Winter, the Guardian's James Dart and ESPN's Alex Shaw:

Mata, 29, is a graduate of the Real Madrid youth academy and has played previously for Valencia and Chelsea.

The Blues sold him to United in January 2014 for £37.1 million.

He has since added an FA Cup, a League Cup and the UEFA Europa League to a trophy cabinet that already included the Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship, among others.

For all his success, though, Mata has regularly come across as one of the most grounded players in the game. He spoke to Spanish television programme Salvados last year about the "unfathomable" wages earned by footballers, himself included, labelling the situation "obscene" (via the Daily Telegraph's Charlie Eccleshare).

His charitable pledge comes on the back of Neymar's record-breaking €222 million (£200 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.