Juan Mata’s correspondence with Iker Casillas from the stands

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Dearest Iker,

First, I hope this message reaches you. I knew my years of research on carrier pigeons would be useful one day, though the dire nature of this predicament is still a surprise. Next, I must apologize for doubting you. Lord Mourinho is every bit as treacherous as you warned.

Never would I have imagined it possible to go from being the club's Player of the Year in two consecutive campaigns to not even being named to the bench. When he arrived, he asked me if you and I were friends. I said "yes," not thinking what horrors one positive word could produce. He confiscated my phone and keeps me in his wine cellar every night "until I learn." His wine collection is unvaried and bland at best. I am going to enroll him in a wine of the month club as soon as I regain my freedom.

As I watch my teammates play without me, my thoughts often drift to the desert island I hope to inhabit one day. I will be alone with my books and the birds and maybe Fernando Torres will visit sometimes just to rest his mind. I will invent new board games with logical rules that prevent Lord Mourinho from making use of his twisted methods. They will be called "Everything Matas" and "Mata of Fact" and other things that involve humorous puns based on my surname.

Until then, my hope gets me through the nights amongst the sub-par wine. Lord Mourinho might be "The Special One" but I am "The Special Juan." I will maintain my facial hair. I will rise again. And so will you.

Stay strong. And please feed the pigeon.


Dear Juan,

I do not enjoy being correct about the Portuguese Troll King. I can only offer my sympathies and warn you to be careful about what you wish for. When I finally got my chance to play again, my joy was cut down by my own clumsy teammate, Sergio Ramos. He hurt my ribs...and my heart. If and when you do get the chance to play again, be vigilant. David Luiz seems capable of doing the same to you. Even Kaka, who fled back to Milan, could not escape injury upon playing again. We can only hope that whoever made this world so unfair gets a very bad paper cut that makes him or her think about what they've done.

Tearfully yours,

San Iker

P.S. Your island sounds nice.