World Cup winner Juan Mata is challenging the general perception of rich footballers and helping to awaken the sport’s social conscience through the Common Goal project.
The Manchester United midfielder is encouraging players to follow his example and pledge a minimum of one percent of their wages to a collective fund as he wants to make it “the biggest football club in the world”.
So far 34 footballers, including German World Cup winner Mats Hummels, Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and Japan’s Shinji Kagawa plus UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, have pledged part of their salary to Common Goal.
Mata’s one percent helps the India-based OSCAR Foundation, which promotes the value of education through football, a gender equality project in Colombia.
The Spanish international, speaking to AFP after visiting two primary schools through his work with the Manchester United Foundation in a deprived area of northwest England, is disarmingly modest about being seen as a figurehead of Common Goal.
Mata, who is also studying for two degrees, says he is happy with the response so far, even if he does not yet have a global superstar signed up.