Javier Mascherano, the former Liverpool and Barcelona star, confirmed his retirement this morning ending a legendary career of a powerhouse midfielder.
Javier Mascherano is a powerful player, a modest leader, and a legendary player of Barcelona, Liverpool, and his nation-Argentina. His career has been a wonderful story of soccer experience since the player has won 23 trophies in his 17-year-long career. As the retirement of the former Barcelona star is confirmed, Mascherano will be remembered as a legend of the soccer world, a modest leader on the pitch.
Mascherano started his early career at River Plate where he made his professional debut in 2003 at the age of 19. After three years of playing at his native club, Mascherano moved to West Ham. The Argentine midfielder only played for London in one year before moving to Liverpool F.C. where he contributed his talent in three years. Mascherano accompanied Steven Gerrard-the captain of Liverpool and Xabi Alonso-the talented Spanish maestro to create the powerful midfield trio.
The trio could not help Liverpool accomplish the English Premier League title, but personally, Mascherano attracted the attention of Barcelona. The Spanish giant was looking for an addition to their midfield in the transfer window of the season 2010-2011, and they wanted Mascherano as the first choice.
Former Liverpool midfielder moved to Barcelona with a price tag of 25 million Euros, but he was not the first option of Barcelona starting-11 squad at first. The midfield of Barcelona in the period of 2008-2012 was the battlefield of La Masia’s graduates. Barcelona’s coach in that period, Pep Guardiola, usually used the trio of Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez. Whereas players like Javier Mascherano often appeared in the starting-11 squad as a rotation alternative.
Everything changed when Barcelona went through a clash against Arsenal in the season of 2010-2011. Mascherano made a tackle, according to him, was a life-changing tackle.
“Honestly, after five, six months I thought it was unlikely I’d be here long: my characteristics seemed to go against everything Barcelona stood for. That moment marked me. If Bendtner had controlled the ball and gone the other way, he’d have got away from me, and I don’t know what would’ve happened,” Mascherano said. “But it happened the way it happened, and we ended up winning that Champions League. Things worked out well.”
The tackle happened in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 round between Barcelona and Arsenal. Barcelona was leading the visitor 4-3, but if the English side could have scored another goal, the Spanish side would have been eliminated.
Luckily, Mascherano was there to stop the bad thing from happening. After that moment, the Argentine player was shifted from the middle of the field to the center back of the defense. And he continued his career as a permanent center back.
Mascherano, though, did not think he would permanently play as a center back.
Actually, Mascherano started the clash against Arsenal in the midfield, and his teammate Sergio Busquets was the one who played in the center of the defense. Nonetheless, a tackle changed everything, and from then on, the Argentine reshaped his position as a defender. Mascherano confessed that playing as a defender at Barcelona is unfamiliar to any other teams.
“Being a center back for Barca is not like being a center back for any other team. The areas you inhabit are very similar to those I’d inhabit playing in midfield. Often, in terms of where we press, Busquets and I are practically in the same line,” the former Barcelona player said.
After playing for Barcelona in nearly 8 consecutive seasons, the Argentine cap moved to China in the Winter of 2018 before moving back to Argentina and playing for his native club, Estudiantes. Javier Mascherano played for Estudiantes in approximately one season. And he apparently confirmed his retirement at the age of 36.
On his Twitter, the Argentine most caps player wrote.
“I want to announce that today I am retiring from soccer professionally. I want to thank this club that gave me the opportunity to finish my career in Argentina.”
Recently, Mascherano has joined an interview with ESPN, and during that talk, he also shared why he retired. “I lived my profession 100%, to the maximum that I possibly can, and for a while now that has been getting harder,” Mascherano said. “Sometimes you don’t choose the end, it happens all by itself.”
After all, a warrior has left the world of soccer with a life-long legacy. Mascherano will be remembered as a legend, a leader, and a champion.
via ESPN, SkySports, and other sources