Messi Demands Barcelona Don’t Sell Mascherano

Lionel Messi has demanded that Barcelona don’t sell long-time star Javier Mascherano, according to reports in Spain. Mascherano, 33, is likely approaching the tail end of his career, but Spanish outlet Diario Gol claim Lionel Messi is determined that his Argentina teammate should not be let go from the club.

Barcelona let veteran defender Dani Alves leave for Juventus in 2016, only for the Brazil star to shine in Serie A and lead his team to the Champions League final. That was particularly frustrating for the Catalan giants as they struggled to find a replacement for him at left-back in the 2016/17 season. And Diario Gol say Messi is keen for the same situation not to arise again next season. The report claims the Barca talisman wants Mascherano to operate as a rotational player behind Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique in the pecking order.

Mascherano is a versatile and tactically intelligent footballer, with an excellent ability to read the game and organise his team; he is known in particular for his leadership skills, passing accuracy, tough marking of opponents, and hard-tackling style of play.

Mascherano began his career at River Plate, where he earned his first senior honours, the Primera División Argentina. He then moved to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2005, winning the Brazilian Série A in his first season. Mascherano later moved to Europe, signing for Premier League side West Ham United, but his brief time at the club was brought to a halt due to some problems.

He later moved on loan to Liverpool, reaching the final of the UEFA Champions League, before he signed with the club for £18.7 million. After three years playing for Liverpool, Mascherano joined Barcelona in 2010, where he changed his position of defensive midfielder to full central defender. With Barcelona, he has won four La Liga championships, two UEFA Champions League titles, and two FIFA Club World Cups, among other honours.

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