Javier Mascherano

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Javier Mascherano
Argentine - Portugal - Javier Mascherano.jpg
Mascherano playing for Argentina in 2011
Personal information
Full name Javier Alejandro Mascherano
Date of birth (1984-06-08) 8 June 1984 (age 29)
Place of birth San Lorenzo, Argentina
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 12 in)
Playing position Centre back / Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current club Barcelona
Number 14
Youth career
River Plate
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2005 River Plate 46 (1)
2005–2006 Corinthians 26 (0)
2006–2007 West Ham United 5 (0)
2007–2010 Liverpool 94 (1)
2010– Barcelona 107 (0)
National team
2003–2004 Argentina U20 22 (1)
2004–2008 Argentina U23 18 (0)
2003– Argentina 95 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 April 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 June 2013

Javier Alejandro Mascherano (Spanish pronunciation: [mastʃeˈɾano], locally: [maʔtʃeˈɾano], Italian: [maskeˈraːno]; born 8 June 1984) is an Argentine footballer who plays for FC Barcelona in La Liga and the Argentina national team, as a central defender or defensive midfielder.

Mascherano began his career at River Plate. He earned his first senior honours in 2003–04, winning the Primera División Argentina. He also won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in the Athens Games and finished runner up in the Copa América 2004. He moved to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2005, winning the Brazilian Série A in his first season. Mascherano moved to Europe, signing for Premier League side West Ham United. However, unusual contract terms with Global Soccer Agencies blighted his brief time at the club and at the beginning of 2007 he joined Liverpool on loan.

He was runner up in the UEFA Champions League in his first season on Merseyside and again finished runner up in the Copa América with Argentina. He officially signed for Liverpool in February 2008 for £18.6 million, parting ways with Global Soccer Agencies. He won a second Olympic gold medal with Argentina in the Beijing 2008 Games, the first male footballer to achieve this since 1968. He was considered a key part of the national side by past coach Diego Maradona who appointed him captain and stated that his team was just Jonás, Mascherano, Messi and eight more.[1][2]

Mascherano's two most used nicknames (in Argentina) are Masche and El Jefecito (The little chief).[3][4]

Mascherano also holds an Italian passport, which makes him eligible as an EU player.[5]

Club career[edit]

River Plate (2003–05)[edit]

Born in San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, Mascherano came through the youth ranks at River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, before making his club debut he made his name representing Argentina.

Mascherano won his first silverware when River won the 2003–04 Clausura (Closing) championship. In the 2004 Copa Libertadores River reached the semi-final, but lost on penalties to arch-rivals Boca Juniors.

Around this time several clubs including Real Madrid,[6] and Deportivo de La Coruña declared an interest in signing Mascherano, but River Plate turned down all offers, saying that none of the interested parties were prepared to pay enough.

2004–05 was not a successful season for River, finishing third in the Apertura Championship and only tenth in the Clausura. In the Copa Libertadores River again lost in the semi-final, this time to São Paulo.

After the Confederations Cup in Germany, Brazilian club Corinthians acquired Mascherano from River Plate for US$15 million.

Corinthians (2005–06)[edit]

The Brazilian Série A runs from April, so Mascherano joined Corinthians in mid-season. After playing only nine games for his new club, on September 2005, Mascherano suffered a stress fracture to his left foot causing him to miss the end of the season. He went back to Argentina to be operated on by the National team doctor and recuperate.[7][8][9][10] However, Corinthians still claimed the 2005 Série A championship with the team captained by Mascherano's Argentine compatriot, Carlos Tevez.

In total, Mascherano was out of action for six months, only returning on 5 March 2006.[11] Corinthians were forced to start their 2006 Copa Libertadores without Mascherano, but he returned in time for the Round of 16 tie against River Plate, which Corinthians lost. The 2006 Brazilian Série A also went badly for Corinthians, and at one stage they were battling against relegation. In June, the league season was interrupted for the 2006 World Cup.

Although his performance drew the attention of European clubs, he stated his desire to remain with Corinthians, to help with the relegation battle, and postponed any transfer until January at the earliest.[12] However, hours before the northern summer 2006 transfer window closed, Mascherano joined West Ham United for an undisclosed fee along with team-mate Carlos Tevez.[13]

West Ham (2006 – January 2007)[edit]

During the summer of 2006 Mascherano was linked with top clubs around Europe, he stated he would relish playing in Spain for Real Madrid or FC Barcelona but eventually he signed for West Ham United in the Premier League. Mascherano holds an Italian passport due to his ancestry.[14] The move to West Ham was seen as surprising, with many of Europe's top clubs having been linked with Mascherano all summer. There were many rumours about the nature of the transfer, primarily regarding Media Sports Investment's interest in buying-out West Ham. Rumours included speculation as to whether West Ham truly owned the players, or whether a third party held their registration, and also that if a high enough (£112 million was touted) offer was received West Ham would be forced to sell.[15] (It has since been discovered that Mystere Services and Global Soccer Agencies are the companies that owned Mascherano.)[16]

Before Mascherano joined, West Ham had won one game, drawn one and lost one. However upon his arrival the team went into free-fall, losing eight games and drawing one game in all competitions before their next win on 29 October. During this time, Mascherano rarely featured in the team, despite their struggles, prompting rumours about financial clauses related to the amount of time he was actually played. In October, the Argentina national coach, Alfio Basile, declared that he hoped Mascherano would leave West Ham "as soon as possible," and "I hope for God's sake that Mascherano can go to Juventus."[17]

On 16 January 2007, Liverpool requested clearance from FIFA to take Mascherano on loan from West Ham.[18] FIFA's rules state that no player can play for more than two different clubs between 1 July and 30 June the following year as Mascherano had already played for both Corinthians and West Ham during this time.

FIFA approved the deal on 31 January 2007.[19] However, although Liverpool submitted his registration details before the midnight transfer deadline, the Premier League did not immediately announce whether it would allow Mascherano to play for Liverpool, saying that it wanted to "take time to satisfy itself with the proposed arrangements".[20]

In a further development, it was announced on 2 March that the Premier League were charging West Ham with breaking rule B13, concerning acting in good faith, and rule U18, which concerns the influence of third-party ownership.[21] On 27 April the Premier League issued West Ham a world-record fine of £5.5 million.[22]

Liverpool (February 2007–2010)[edit]

Mascherano in action for Liverpool in 2007

On 10 February 2007, Liverpool added Mascherano to their Champions League squad and gave him the number 20 shirt. Eventually, on 20 February 2007, Mascherano's move to Liverpool became official after the Premier League accepted Liverpool's request to register the player at Anfield.[23]

Mascherano made his debut for Liverpool against Sheffield United on 24 February 2007,[24] and was praised by the Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez and team captain Steven Gerrard after Liverpool's 4–0 victory. After playing in a match against Arsenal on 31 March, Benítez called Mascherano a "monster of a player".[25] Similarly, his teammates were impressed by his talent; Xabi Alonso noted how mature a player he was for his age, saying: "He has a cool mind on the pitch. He is analysing and thinking about the game in each moment."[6] Mascherano's first Champions League appearance came in the quarter-final first leg against PSV in Eindhoven on 3 April. Hastily establishing himself as a starter at the club, Mascherano played in the Champions League Final that year against Milan. He and teammate Alonso were successful in stifling the creative play of both Kaká and Clarence Seedorf for much of the match but Liverpool eventually succumbed to Milan, losing 2–1.[26] He was voted Liverpool's man of the match by the fans on the official Liverpool website.[27]

Mascherano playing for Liverpool in 2009.

Following months of speculation, Mascherano signed a four-year permanent contract with Liverpool on 29 February 2008, ending his association with Media Sports Investments.[28] The transfer reportedly cost Liverpool £18.6 m,[29] and covered not only the transfer fee, but also the player's wages for the four-year deal.[30] It was allowed to go through immediately as Mascherano was not contracted to another club, making him exempt from the rules of the transfer window. He scored his first Premier League and Liverpool goal on 15 March 2008, with a 20-yard strike against Reading.[31]

On 29 November 2009, Mascherano claimed the first goal in the 2–0 win against Everton at Goodison Park when his 30-yard shot appeared to be heading just off target before it took a wicked deflection off Joseph Yobo before finding the net. The goal officially went down as an own goal.[32] In a game against Portsmouth on 19 December 2009, Mascherano was sent off for committing a bad foul on Portsmouth's Tal Ben Haim. It was later confirmed that the sending off meant a 4-match suspension for Mascherano. This was due to this being his 2nd red card of the season, Liverpool went on to lose the match 2–0.[33] Mascherano had the worst disciplinary record of the 2009–10 Premier League season with seven yellow cards and two red.[34] He scored his first goal of the season with a bullet of a shot from outside the area in the Europa League against Unirea Urziceni away from home in a match Liverpool won 3–1 to secure their place in the last 16 of the competition with an aggregate win of 4–1.[35] On 27 July 2010, after returning from a break after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Mascherano informed new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson that he wanted to leave the club.[36] During that break, Hodgson had failed with several attempts to contact Mascherano, able only to leave messages for him saying that he was looking forward to meeting him back on Merseyside as his calls went unreturned.[37]

Mascherano was held in high esteem by the Liverpool fans, who gave him his own song, (to the tune of the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army").[38] After winning the 2011 Champions League Final with Barcelona, Mascherano, speaking directly after the match, said, "I want to say, I know that Liverpool supporters, after my exit, I know they were a little bit sad with me—this is for them as well."[39][40]

Liverpool announced on 27 August that they had agreed a transfer fee with Barcelona for the player and had given permission to him to speak with the Spanish club.[41]

2008 Old Trafford incident[edit]

In his first game at Old Trafford against Manchester United on 23 March 2008, he was sent off after collecting two yellow cards.[42] He was initially booked for a late tackle on Paul Scholes, and later dismissed for running towards referee Steve Bennett to protest a yellow card shown to Fernando Torres. Mascherano had to be pushed from the field of play by Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. Rafael Benítez was also forced to leave the dug out and plead with Mascherano to leave the field. He was also escorted down the tunnel by Peter Crouch. The Football Association ruled that the usual one-game suspension be increased to three games for improper conduct.[43] Mascherano admitted the improper conduct charge levelled at him, but appealed against the further two-to-three-match suspension.[44] This appeal was denied by The Football Association, however,[45] and Mascherano was also fined £15,000; he demanded that this fine would be paid to a charity.[46]

With the controversial incident behind him, Mascherano would play a key role in Liverpool's 2–1 win over United at Anfield on 13 September 2008. Though he was at fault for failing to cover countryman Carlos Tevez, who scored for United less than three minutes into the game. Mascherano made amends for his mistake, and was instrumental in creating the goal which put Liverpool up 2–1. Mascherano was voted Man of the Match by the fans on Liverpool's official website.[47]

Barcelona (2010–present)[edit]

Javier Mascherano in 2011

On 28 August 2010, he agreed terms on a four-year deal contract with FC Barcelona for €24 million.[48] On 30 August 2010, Mascherano passed his medical to complete his transfer to Barça, and told Barça TV "The truth is it's a dream, it's a great joy"[49] He made his league debut on 11 September 2010, starting in a home 0-2 defeat against recently promoted Hércules CF, marking the first defeat at the Camp Nou for 16 months. Mascherano had a mixed season at the Camp Nou, spending the first half of the season mainly coming off the bench but for the latter part playing out of position in a center back role. On 28 May 2011, Mascherano started alongside Gerard Piqué in the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final against Manchester United. Barcelona went on to win the game 3–1, with Mascherano dedicating the win to Liverpool fans, some of which he had upset during his move. In the run to the final, Mascherano denied Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner a certain goal with a sliding tackle towards the end of the second leg of the round of 16 game, which the Catalan side beat the Gunners 3–1, 4–3 on aggregate.

In his second season, Mascherano played almost exclusively as a central defender, putting in consistent performances starting regularly for the team in defense.

On 26 July 2012, Mascherano signed a contract extension with Barcelona, which will keep him with the Catalan giants until 2016. His buyout clause was set at 100 million euros.[50]

International career[edit]

Mascherano contesting a header with Andrei Arshavin

Mascherano’s first international appearance came in 2001. September of that year saw him play on the Argentina team that finished fourth in the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship.

His impact at youth levels was such that he made his senior international debut before playing a single minute for River Plate's first team (due to his central midfield position at club level being occupied by River’s long standing captain Leonardo Astrada, nicknamed the Chief). That international debut came in a friendly against Uruguay on 16 July 2003.[51]

Halfway through the 2003–04 Apertura (Opening) championship, Mascherano was called up to play in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship. Argentina again finished fourth with Mascherano the team's outstanding player.[52] He was however suspended for the third place play-off.

In January 2004, he joined up with Argentina's under-23 team for the South American Pre-Olímpico tournament in Chile. Argentina won the tournament, thereby qualifying for the 2004 Summer Olympics. In August, Mascherano and the team went on to become gold medal-winners in Greece.[53]

At the end of the 2003–2004 season, Mascherano was included in the senior squad for the 2004 Copa América. Argentina lost to Brazil on penalties in the final, but Mascherano impressed enough to be voted Argentina's player of the tournament by his team-mates.[52]

The following year, Mascherano played in the Confederations Cup in Germany, a tournament that ended in disappointment for Argentina who went down 4–1 to Brazil in the final.[54]

In the 2006 World Cup, he played every minute of every game for Argentina, with Argentina being knocked out by Germany in the Quarter-finals.

His first two goals for the senior Argentina team came in July 2007 during the Copa América 2007. Mascherano’s performance at the tournament was such that he was widely selected as the best Argentine player in a squad full of stars.[55]

2008 saw another, less welcome, first as Mascherano received his first red card for the national team after receiving two yellow cards in a match against the USA, on 8 June 2008. He was sent of in the 86th minute of the match, which went on to end 0–0.[56]

Later that year, Mascherano was selected to represent Argentina in the Olympic games in Beijing as one of their over-23 year old players. He was thrilled at the call up saying "It's important for any athlete to defend the gold medal. I might be the only person from my country ever to do it and I'll go down in history."[57] Argentina won the tournament making Mascherano only the second Argentine sportsman ever (following polo player Juan Nelson) to win two Olympic gold medals.[58][59]

Soon after being appointed head coach of Argentina in November 2008, Diego Maradona announced that he wanted Mascherano to be the team's captain. "I want Mascherano to be my captain because I believe he is the Argentinian player who is closest to the idea I have about the Argentinian shirt – sweat for it, sacrifice for it, being a professional, being close to the team-mate," he said. "I will convince him. He will be my captain."[60]

Mascherano accepted Diego Maradona's offer to become the new Argentina captain on 10 November, replacing Javier Zanetti.[61] At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Argentina captained by Mascherano, got to the quarter finals where they were defeated 4–0 by Germany.[62]

In 11 June 2013, Mascherano was sent off in strange circumstances during a World Cup qualifier against Ecuador. As a cart was driving the injured Mascherano off the pitch, he suddenly lashed out and aimed two kicks at the shoulder of the buggy driver, earning him a straight red card from the referee.[63]

National team statistics[edit]

[64]

Argentina national team
Year Apps Goals
2003 1 0
2004 10 0
2005 3 0
2006 8 0
2007 14 2
2008 9 0
2009 10 0
2010 9 0
2011 14 0
2012 8 0
2013 7 0
Total 93 2

International goals[edit]

As of 11 August 2009

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 5 July 2007 Estadio Metropolitano de Fútbol de Lara, Barquisimeto, Venezuela  Paraguay 1 – 0 1–0 Copa América 2007
2. 8 July 2007 Estadio Metropolitano de Fútbol de Lara, Barquisimeto, Venezuela  Peru 4 – 0 4–0 Copa América 2007

Career statistics[edit]

As of 20 April 2014.
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
River Plate 2003–04 20 0 0 0 0 0 20 0
2004–05 26 1 0 0 0 0 26 1
Total 46 1 0 0 0 0 46 1
Corinthians 2005 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
2006 18 0 2 0 0 0 20 0
Total 26 0 2 0 0 0 28 0
West Ham 2006–07 15 0 0 0 0 0 15 0
Total 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Liverpool 2006–07 7 0 0 0 4 0 11 0
2007–08 25 1 3 0 13 0 41 1
2008–09 27 0 3 0 8 0 38 0
2009–10 34 0 1 0 13 1 48 1
2010–11 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 94 1 7 0 38 1 139 2
Barcelona 2010–11 27 0 7 0 11 0 45 0
2011–12 31 0 9 0 12 0 52 0
2012–13 25 0 8 0 8 0 41 0
2013–14 24 0 9 0 9 0 42 0
Total 107 0 33 0 40 0 180 0
Career total 278 2 42 0 78 1 398 3

Honours[edit]

Olympic medal record
Men's football
Gold 2004 Athens Team
Gold 2008 Beijing Team
River Plate
Corinthians
Liverpool
Barcelona

International[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Maradona: "Argentina son Mascherano y diez más"". as.com (Spanish). Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  2. ^ Maradona pone a Jonás a la misma altura que Messi y Mascherano
  3. ^ "Tevez-Mascherano: "Enfrentar a River, para nosotros es algo distinto"". Clarín (Spanish). Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  4. ^ "Player profile – Javier Mascherano". SkySports.com. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  5. ^ Javier Mascherano – Transfermarkt.de
  6. ^ a b Northcroft, Johnathon (8 April 2007). "Mascherano happy to step out of the shadows". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  7. ^ "Injury jinx hits Argentina". FIFAWorldCup.yahoo.com. 28 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  8. ^ "Argentine players injured". Clarín. Retrieved 2007-03-15.  (Spanish)
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  10. ^ "Out for the rest of 2005". terra.com. 15 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-15.  (Spanish)
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  38. ^ Javier Mascherano song
  39. ^ ITV interview, 28 May 2011
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  42. ^ Bevan, Chris (23 March 2008). "Man Utd 3–0 Liverpool". BBC Sport Online. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
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  45. ^ "Mascherano appeal rejected". FIFA. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  46. ^ "Liverpool appeal Mascherano's extended ban". FIFA. 4 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  47. ^ "Babel fires winner as res go top". 13 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-19. [dead link]
  48. ^ Smith, Rory (30 August 2010). "Javier Mascherano: Barcelona move a dream come true". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  49. ^ "Javier Mascherano completes move to Barcelona". BBC Sport. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  50. ^ "FC Barcelona to renew Mascherano's contract through 2016". ESPN Soccernet. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  51. ^ "Argentina player profile – 8 Javier Mascherano". FIFAWorldCup.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  52. ^ a b "Player to Watch: Mascherano making waves in Argentina". FIFAWorldCup.yahoo.com. 27 September 2004. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  53. ^ "FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  54. ^ Brazil storm engulfs swamped Argentina
  55. ^ Jefe y patrón (spanish)
  56. ^ http://www.ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_6684675.html U.S. Men Draw 0–0 in Epic Contest With Argentina
  57. ^ [1][dead link]
  58. ^ "Golden moment for Argentina". FIFA.com. 23 August 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  59. ^ "FIFA.com". FIFA.com. 21 August 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  60. ^ "Maradona named as Argentina coach". BBC News. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  61. ^ "Masch accepts Argentine armband". Sky Sports. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  62. ^ Bevan, Chris (3 July 2010). "Argentina 0–4 Germany". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  63. ^ "Javier Mascherano sent off for kicking stretcher driver". inside World Soccer. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  64. ^ Javier Mascherano at National-Football-Teams.com

External links[edit]