Juan Mata seems a bit exasperated to be asked about the return of Ronaldo to Manchester United.
The Spanish midfielder says it is “difficult” and “complicated” to envisage the Portuguese forward back at Old Trafford, despite ongoing reports that he will leave Real Madrid.
“I think it’s difficult for that to happen, in truth,” Mata told Goal in an exclusive interview.
“The respect and admiration that the people have for Cristiano (in Manchester) is incredible. You see it at the training ground, at the stadium, with so many photos of when he won all those titles there and did so well on a personal level as well.
“But it’s complicated with him at a club like Real Madrid and happy there, which I think he is. He is a player who makes the difference in any league, obviously.
“But as it’s very complicated at the moment, I prefer to focus on the players who are here, on playing well and achieving the club’s objectives.”
Meanwhile, Mata has spoken warmly about Rafa Benitez, who managed him to the form of his life during his short spell at Chelsea.
“I had a fantastic experience with Rafa,” he said. “It was complicated because of the team’s situation. But we won the Europa League and he did a very successful job.
“On a personal level, in terms of numbers, statistics, games, assists and goals, it was my best season. Those are my memories of Rafa, his football and his manner of understanding the game with me were fantastic,” said Mata.
“Things will go very well for him. When Real Madrid lose there is always great repercussions and people start to look for problems, but on a personal level my experience was fantastic and I think he can repeat that success again in Spain.”