It will disrupt their preseason plans but Chelsea have told Juan Mata he can play in this summer’s Olympics.
The 24-year-old midfielder is one of three over-age players Spain have called up for the Games and is desperate to win gold – even though the London 2012 football tournament will clash with the Blues’ pre-season programme.
“I have confirmed with Chelsea that I can play the Olympics,” said Mata, who is part of Spain’s Euro 2012 squad but was an unused sub for all three of their group games.
“It’s something I have agreed with the Spanish federation, and I don’t want to change.
“My dream is to play and win the gold in London. After winning a lot with Chelsea last season, that would be another great honour.”
Mata won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first season at Chelsea, and believes the club will gain more success under Roberto Di Matteo, who has now been confirmed as manager after a hugely successful spell as interim boss.
Former Valencia star Mata says Di Matteo deserves his chance, having resurrected the players’ self-belief following Andre Villas-Boas’ ill-fated nine-month reign.
Mata added: “I am very happy with Di Matteo continuing. I believed he deserved the opportunity because he took over at a difficult time and yet his success was total.
“To win the FA Cup and Champions League would have been good for any fan. He was responsible for much of that, gave me confidence and more than during Villas-Boas’ stay as manager.
“Now I want to try and win the Premier League title next season. Chelsea have shown towards the end of the season the quality as a team and maybe we will suffer less next season.”