Skip to main content

Juan Mata brings the Spanish celebration of The Three Kings to Manchester

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, surprised children at Waterhead Academy in Oldham and Tameside Hospital yesterday, as he delivered toys that he has personally donated for a third consecutive year.

| by Katie Newton

Juan Mata brings the Spanish celebration of The Three Kings to Manchester

The visit ties in with the Spanish national holiday, Los Tres Reyes Magos, which means The Three Kings, and is celebrated on 6th January to honour the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Baby Jesus. Children, families and entire cities throughout the country celebrate the major Spanish Christmas tradition, with festivals and parades along with the tradition of exchanging gifts. 

Bringing the spirit of the Spanish celebration to Manchester, Mata personally delivered gifts to pupils at Waterhead Academy, one of Manchester United Foundation's partner schools. The school welcomed Juan into a year 9 Spanish lesson where he explained the importance of the Spanish festival, before joining children from local primary schools in the sports hall to hand out the presents. 

Juan commented, "It's great to come to schools like this and to see the children so happy, we've been playing some games and I've enjoyed myself.

"I always say that Manchester United Foundation does a great job for the community around Manchester; it's incredible the amount of schools and hospitals they work with and for us players it is amazing to come here, see it in person and to really experience what it means to make others happy.”

Speaking on the Three Kings tradition in his country on this special day he said, "It is a very special night in Spain; there are parades in every city with The Three Kings throwing sweets then they deliver gifts so when the children wake up, if they have been good they get presents.”

Foundation Coach, Claire Harrop, who works full-time at Waterhead and within the primary schools, described the impact on the students, "Seeing Juan here today is amazing; we've tried to keep it under wraps but there's been a buzz all day.  He is such a great role model, not only for the children but for the community; days like this really give people aspirations and help them to be a bit more motivated.”

Mata also paid a visit to the Children's and Outpatients Units of Tameside Hospital.  The gifts included cuddly toys, art sets and Manchester United goodies.

This is the third year Juan has personally donated gifts to the children of Manchester.  He also recognised the traditional Christmas celebrations in the UK by going out on 22nd December to visit Wood Street Mission and the Zion Community Centre, Manchester charities that help struggling families across Manchester, Salford and Hulme.