A glorious 17-year career has ended for the former Barcelona, Liverpool, and Argentina star back in his homeland.
Javier Mascherano has pulled the curtain on a superb 17-year career that saw him win some of the biggest competitions and represent clubs such as Barcelona and Liverpool.
The 36-year-old spent his last season as a footballer back in his native Argentina with Estudiantes. He arrived in January from Hebei China Fortune and made 10 appearances for the Superliga outfit.
And while Mascherano was under contract until June 2021, he held a press conference on Sunday to confirm his retirement.
“It is time to finish my career because of things that happened to me in recent months, that on a personal level, and after having thought about it for all this time, the most correct thing is to finish today,” said Mascherano as quoted by Goal.
Javier Mascherano has announced his retirement from professional football:
🏆 2x Champions League
🏆 2x European Super Cup
🏆 2x Club World Cup
🏆 4x La Liga
🏆 4x Copa del Rey
🏆 3x Spanish Super Cup
What a player. 👏 pic.twitter.com/BCJZ8wJOiZ
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) November 15, 2020
“I have lived my profession 100 per cent, I gave the best I could and today I find that it has been difficult for me for a while and I do not want to disrespect Estudiantes, who trusted me to return to Argentina, or my colleagues, or this profession.
“It does not have to do with the club or with a result, but with feelings that one is feeling over recent times, which make the illusion that one had of being a footballer fade.
“Post pandemic, I thought that I was going to feel the spark again, but the truth is that I could not. Out of respect for everyone, it is time to step aside and end this race. I didn’t want to let time go by.
“I am infinitely grateful to the clubs I played for, the teammates I had throughout my career and to Estudiantes who gave me the opportunity to come and play in recent times. It was less than I expected, things happened this way and sometimes you don’t choose the end.
“I thank [coach Leandro] Desabato, the institution and my colleagues for having put up with me this last time.”
Mascherano began his senior career in 2003 with boyhood side River Plate in Argentina. Brief spells at Corinthians and West Ham followed before his big break came in the form of a move to Liverpool in 2007.
The Argentine made his mark in the Premier League at Anfield, making 139 appearances and winning the affection of the Reds supporters.
After three years in England, ‘The Little Chief’ joined Barcelona in a €20m transfer. He formed part of a golden era that was bestowed upon Camp Nou.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 15, 2020
Mascherano’s ability to operate in midfield and central defense became a valued asset for the Blaugrana. It granted him 334 appearances on route to a staggering 19 major honors, including five La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues.
He ended his glory-laden days in Catalonia in January 2018 for a two-year stint in China with Hebei China Fortune before returning to his homeland last winter.
Mascherano also won 147 caps for the Argentina national team. But, aside from Olympic glory in 2004 and 2008, he never won a major international title after a series of near-misses that ended with four Copa America runner-up finishes and a defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.
147 – Javier Mascherano is the most capped player for Argentina national team (147). Farewell. pic.twitter.com/BaOXBle6bp
— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) November 15, 2020