Ex-Man Utd, Chelsea star Mata leaves Japan champs Vissel Kobe

Former Spain midfielder Juan Mata has left recently crowned Japanese champions Vissel Kobe following the expiration of his contract, the club announced on Saturday.

Mata signed a four-month deal midway through the season and was part of the Kobe squad that won the J.League title for the first time, making a solitary appearance.

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"I am very happy to have been part of the club's historic moment in winning the league for the first time," Mata said in a statement. "I will never forget the memories we made together."

The 35-year-old, a World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 before spending eight seasons with Manchester United.

He then played for a season at Galatasaray in Turkey prior to signing with Kobe as a free agent in September.