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Jun 3, 2013

Mata happy with squad role

Juan Mata says he has no problem being seen as a squad player by Spain even though he is a key player for Chelsea.

• Spain name squad

Mata has been voted player of the season in both his campaigns at the Premier League side, but rarely starts for Spain given the competition for places in a squad which also includes fellow attacking midfielders Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, Pedro Rodriguez and Santi Cazorla.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil, the Asturian told FIFA.com that he was happy with the role he had played in Spain's recent World Cup and European Championship successes.

"I think it is because with 'La Seleccion' there are loads of us who are important players at their clubs, but then only 11 can start and so the competition is very fierce," Mata said. "But I have already enjoyed experiencing three major tournaments and my only goal is to keep being involved."

The chance for a European side to win a tournament on Brazilian soil, while getting a feel for the country and its stadiums ahead of next summer's World Cup, was exciting, Mata agreed.

"It will be my first time in Brazil and we will be playing competitive matches in the Americas - which is something we have not done before," he said.

"It will also be good to know more about the country that is hosting the World Cup. We will get to see what the stadiums are like, have a taste of the atmosphere - which I am sure will be great, and also start preparing for next year's competition.

"When you are going to play in Brazil, the Maracana always comes to mind. It would be fantastic if we could reach the final there and win it."

Vicente del Bosque's side travel across the Atlantic this week as favourites for the tournament, but Mata said he and his team-mates were used to being seen as the team to beat in international football.

"Spain are enjoying the greatest period in their footballing history and of course our opponents want to knock us off our perch," he said. "But it makes us feel proud when we experience this, that playing against us is seen as special."

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