PICTURES

Football: Mata joins Manchester United for record transfer fee

Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (left) watches Switzerland's Roger Federer play against Spain's Rafael Nadal in their singles semi-final match on the seventh day of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London on Nov 10, 2013. -- FILE
Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (left) watches Switzerland's Roger Federer play against Spain's Rafael Nadal in their singles semi-final match on the seventh day of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London on Nov 10, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Southampton's Steven Davis (left) challenges Chelsea's Juan Mata during their English Premier League soccer match at St Mary's stadium in Southampton, southern England on Jan 1, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Southampton's Steven Davis (left) challenges Chelsea's Juan Mata during their English Premier League soccer match at St Mary's stadium in Southampton, southern England on Jan 1, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Juan Mata (left) and Manchester United manager David Moyes. -- FILE PHOTO: TWITTER
Juan Mata (left) and Manchester United manager David Moyes. -- FILE PHOTO: TWITTER
Spain national football team's midfielder Juan Mata takes part in a training session at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on Nov 18, 2013, on the eve of Spain's friendly match against South Africa. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Spain national football team's midfielder Juan Mata takes part in a training session at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on Nov 18, 2013, on the eve of Spain's friendly match against South Africa. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Chelsea's Juan Mata walks to a training session at the team training facility in Stoke D'Abernon to the south of London, on Dec 10, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Chelsea's Juan Mata walks to a training session at the team training facility in Stoke D'Abernon to the south of London, on Dec 10, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Chelsea's Juan Mata gestures during their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on Dec 1, 2013. Mata has joined Manchester United for a club record transfer fee of 37.1 million pounds (S$78.68 million) f
Chelsea's Juan Mata gestures during their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on Dec 1, 2013. Mata has joined Manchester United for a club record transfer fee of 37.1 million pounds (S$78.68 million) from Premier League rivals Chelsea. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER, England (REUTERS) - Spain playmaker Juan Mata has joined Manchester United for a club record transfer fee of 37.1 million pounds (S$78.68 million) from Premier League rivals Chelsea.

"I am thrilled to be joining United," the 25-year-old told the club's website (www.manutd.com) on Saturday.

"I have enjoyed some very happy years at Chelsea but the time has come for a new challenge. United is the perfect place for me and I am excited at the chance I have to be part of the next phase in the club's history."

Mata claimed the Player of the Year award in his first two seasons at Chelsea, helping the Londoners win the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League, but has been out of favour this season under manager Jose Mourinho.

"Juan is one of the finest playmakers in the game today and it's a real pleasure to have secured his signature," United manager David Moyes said.

"He's been instrumental in Chelsea's recent success with a notable 28 assists and 32 goals in his last two Premier League seasons."

The fee breaks the previous record of 30.75 million pounds United paid Tottenham Hotspur for Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.