Branislav Ivanovic has revealed his personal sadness at the departure of Juan Mata for Manchester United.

Mata completed his £37million move to Old Trafford at the weekend, publishing an open letter saying how sad he was to leave players and fans who had made him so welcome.

And Ivanovic revealed that he was one of those at Stamford Bridge who would be missing the Spaniard most.

The Blues full-back said of the transfer: “For me it was really emotional because Juan was one of my best friends in the team, someone I liked as a person. I wish him all the best.

“This is football, this is life and he decided to move. It was very sad and emotional for us because he was one of the loveliest guys in the squad.”

 

But Ivanovic said he fully understood his team mate's decision, and that Mata's move out of Chelsea had been a long time coming.

“This story has not just happened for a couple of weeks, this story has been going for six months,” said the Serbian.

“This was the best thing for all sides. We will see in the future how important it was for us.

“I think Chelsea did a great deal and let a player who is not playing at the moment to leave for another club. Manchester United is important for him as a player.”