USWNT star Rapinoe is an inspiration - Mata

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Mata: Footballers should use their position to make society fairer (2:04)

Juan Mata feels players should not just stick to playing football and instead follow the lead of figures like Megan Rapinoe. (2:04)

MANCHESTER, England -- Juan Mata has urged more footballers to follow Megan Rapinoe's lead after she used this summer's World Cup to stand up for her beliefs.

Rapinoe led the United States women to victory in France, while also becoming involved in a public spat with U.S. President Donald Trump, claiming "the administration doesn't fight for the same things we fight for."

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Mata and Rapinoe both pledge one percent of their salaries to Common Goal -- a collective fund that aids football projects around the world -- and the Manchester United midfielder believes Rapinoe's stand during the World Cup should act as an inspiration for others.

"She was scoring every game also and they won the World Cup so you can do it, you know," Mata said in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC.

"If you have time to do all the things and you're generally passionate about football, and about society and about how to use the power of football to try to make society a bit more fair, then you can do it. That's what we're seeing."

Mata made headlines two years ago after becoming the first footballer to pledge a portion of his wages to Common Goal.

Raheem Sterling, Hector Bellerin and Danny Rose have all spoken out on topics ranging from racism, environmental problems and mental health and Mata believes footballers have a responsibility to use their platforms to address issues away from the pitch.

"I think you have heard many football players, both male and female, speaking about social topics," said Mata.

"I think many players are standing up for what they believe and I think it's something nice. I think it's good when football players do that, like Raheem, or Danny or Hector."