BUENOS AIRES: Former Argentina and Barcelona football legend announced his retirement from football, thereby putting an end to his 17-year reign on this popular game, be it for his nation or league. The 36-year old Center back started his professional career with River Plate, the domestic giants, in 2003. His announcement came to the fore after his Superliga team, Estudiantes, suffered a 0-1 loss to Argentinos Juniors in a league match on Sunday.
The retirement announcement was entirely a surprise on Sunday. Javier spoke to the reporters after the match, saying that it was the time that his career came to an end due to some personal reasons. After having fought through all his thoughts, he came up with this decision and felt that he had no regrets about making this decision.
He further claims that he has lived up to 100 percent of his profession, even till the last match, and felt like with his performance, he would slow Estudiantes’ progress, who had trusted him to make a return to Argentina. It was not the result but the lack of motivation that procrastinated him from not performing to the best of his abilities. To back his real reason for retirement, he further added that it’s not the club or the result, as winning and losing is part and parcel of a match. It is the fantasy that one had of a footballer beginning to fade.
Hours after Javier announced his retirement, his buddy Lionel Messi paid him tribute on Instagram. Messi played 14 of his 16 years with Mascherano for his country, and a magical nine years in Barcelona. Messi took the role of the captain of Argentina that was handed over by Mascherano. These two were part of four World cups, where they made it to finals in 2014, won two club world cups and champions league, and seven La Liga. Messi poured his hearts on Instagram, claiming that Mascherano was missed from the moment he left Barcelona.
Xavi Hernandez, another Barca legend, paid his tribute and said that he was honored to have played with Mascherano. According to Xavi, Javier was an exquisite professional, humble, and, more importantly, someone who could lead. Neymar described him as a phenomenal player equivalent to his personality. His decision came out of respect for the fans and the team to not stifle progress and welcome new talents.
Javier Mascherano is the winner of 21 major trophies that includes the Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2008, and 19 out of the 21 was when he played for Barcelona, that includes 5 La Ligas and two championship titles in 8 years. He has had the most appearances for Argentina, numbering 147.
In his blazing 17-year-old career, the defensive midfielder has played for some of South America and Europe’s best league teams, including England’s Liverpool, Brazil’s Corinthians, and the Spanish Champs, the FC Barcelona.
After an incredible eight-year spell for FC Barcelona, Mascherano shifted to Hebei China Fortune. Earlier this year, he returned to Argentina and was contracted to represent Estudiantes de La Plata until June 2021. Mascherano was an essential figure in the Argentinian National Team that made it to the World Cup Final in 2014, where they suffered a loss in the last minute thriller.
Javier shared his top three moments of his esteemed career. One is the First International Cup, where he earned full international honors for Argentina before making his senior debut at River Plate. He was drafted to make his debut for the national side in a friendly match against Uruguay in 2003 because of his outstanding performances.
The second best moment was claiming the title “The Olympic Hero” for holding most cap for Argentina. Due to his courtesy, Argentina could win gold medals back to back in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics held in Greece and China, respectively. His third best moment was Moving to England. By the time he was about to transition to Europe, Mascherano already had a name associated with Real Madrid and other top notch clubs.