Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has offered up a robust character reference for much-maligned Blues skipper John Terry and admitted he sympathises with his skipper after his reputation has been soiled by a series of high profile scandals.
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Terry has done little to enhance his own image with some of his and on and off-field indiscretions down the years, yet Mata has painted a very different picture of the greatest Chelsea captain of them all in an interview published in French magazine So Foot.
"I've never spoken with John about all the off the pitch stuff and I don't even want to bring the subject up, but obviously it got to him, having his whole life unwrapped in public," he is quoted as saying.
"This is man who has no private life left and that is sad because the guy I see every day going flat out in training does not correspond to the image peddled in the media. If you need help with anything, John is always there and even if he has made mistakes, does he have to be reminded of that all his life? Everyone makes mistakes.
"All the players who come to Chelsea should look to John and Frank Lampard as an example. They grew with the club and allowed Chelsea to become part of history. No other club has had a growth curve as great as Chelsea over the last few years and it's thanks to players like John and Frank."
Mata has also hit back at criticism of Chelsea's Champions League triumph in Munich last May and claimed their achievements have not been given the credit they merited.
"I don't understand why people want to constantly under-estimate what we achieved last season," he said. "Knocking out Barcelona is anything but simple and it was the same after the return match against Napoli. We played phenomenal football that night, but I didn't hear anyone saying that we'd even played well.
"People have the wrong image of Chelsea. They think we are a defensive team, which isn't the case. I like Barcelona's style, but in football there is no rule stipulating that the team that has the most possession has to win.
"It's not just Barcelona's football which is valid and spectacular. I can honestly say the pleasure I get from playing is the same with Chelsea as it is with Spain."
Meanwhile, Mata has claimed his compatriot Torres is still one of the best hit-men in the world despite his latest collapse in form and has backed him to return to his best. "When someone pays that much for you and you become the most expensive player in the Premier League, you are too eager to please," he added in an interview published in The Sun. "Fernando is a very humble guy who knows where he comes from and understands the value of money. For me, he is still one of the best strikers in the world."