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Javier Mascherano

Javier Alejandro Mascherano (, ; born 8 June 1984) is an Argentina Association football who plays as a defensive midfielder for FC Barcelona. Javier Mascherano can also play as a Defender (association football) Centre back.

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Javier Mascherano biography

Javier Alejandro Mascherano (, ; born 8 June 1984) is an Argentina Association football who plays as a defensive midfielder for FC Barcelona. Javier Mascherano can also play as a Defender (association football) Centre back.
Mascherano began Javier Mascherano career at Club Atlético River Plate. Javier Mascherano earned Javier Mascherano first senior honours in 2003–04, winning the Primera División Argentina. Javier Mascherano also won an Argentina at the 2004 Summer Olympics with Argentina in the 2004 Summer Olympics and finished runner up in the Copa América 2004. Javier Mascherano moved to Brazilian side Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in 2005, winning the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A in Javier Mascherano first season. Mascherano moved to Europe, signing for Premier League side West Ham United. However, unusual contract terms with Media Sports Investments blighted Javier Mascherano brief time at the club and at the beginning of 2007 Javier Mascherano joined Liverpool F.C. on loan.

Javier Mascherano was runner up in the UEFA Champions League in Javier Mascherano first season on Merseyside and again finished runner up in the Copa América with Argentina. Javier Mascherano officially signed for Liverpool in February 2008 for £18.6 million, parting ways with Media Sports Investments. Javier Mascherano won a second Olympic gold medal with Argentina in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the first male footballer to achieve this since 1928. Javier Mascherano was appointed captain of the national team by new head coach Diego Maradona in November 2008 who has repeatedly stated that Javier Mascherano selection is "Mascherano and 10 more".

Mascherano's two most used nicknames (in Argentina) are Masche and El Jefecito (The little chief). Former Argentine footballers Jorge Valdano and Jorge Solari regard Javier Mascherano as possibly the best central midfielder in the world.

Javier Mascherano was considered a key part of the Argentina national football team by past coach Diego Maradona who stated that Javier Mascherano team was just Jonás Gutiérrez, Mascherano, Lionel Messi and eight more.

Mascherano also holds an Italy passport, which makes Javier Mascherano eligible as an EU player.

Club career

River Plate (2003–05)

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

Mascherano won Javier Mascherano first silverware when River won the 2003-2004 in Argentine football. In the 2004 Copa Libertadores River reached the semi-final, but lost on penalties to arch-rivals Club Atlético Boca Juniors.

Around this time several clubs including Real Madrid C.F., 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 FC.

After the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany, Brazilian club Sport Club Corinthians Paulista acquired Mascherano from River Plate for US$15 million.

Corinthians (2005–06)

The Brazilian Série A runs from April, so Mascherano joined Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in mid-season. After playing only nine games for Javier Mascherano new club, on September 2005, Mascherano suffered a stress fracture to Javier Mascherano left foot causing Javier Mascherano to miss the end of the season. Javier Mascherano went back to Argentina to be operated on by the National team doctor and recuperate. However, Corinthians still claimed the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A 2005 with the team captained by Mascherano's Argentine compatriot, Carlos Tévez.

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

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

West Ham (2006 – January 2007)

During the summer of 2006 Mascherano was linked with top clubs around Europe, Javier Mascherano stated Javier Mascherano would relish playing in La Liga for Real Madrid C.F. or FC Barcelona but eventually Javier Mascherano signed for West Ham United in the Premier League. Mascherano holds an Italy passport due to Javier Mascherano ancestry.
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 ownership in association football, and also that if a high enough (£112 million was touted) offer was received West Ham would be forced to sell. (It has since been discovered that Mystere Services and Global Soccer Agencies are the companies that owned Mascherano.)

Before Mascherano joined, West Ham had won one game, drawn one and lost one. However upon Javier Mascherano 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 Javier Mascherano was actually played. In October, the Argentina national coach, Alfio Basile, declared that Javier Mascherano hoped Mascherano would leave West Ham "as soon as possible," and "I hope for God's sake that Mascherano can go to Juventus."

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

FIFA approved the deal on 31 January 2007. However, although Liverpool submitted Javier Mascherano 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".

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. On 27 April the Premier League issued West Ham a world-record fine of £5.5 million.

Liverpool (February 2007–2010)

On 10 February 2007, Liverpool added Mascherano to their UEFA Champions League squad and gave Javier Mascherano 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.

Mascherano made Javier Mascherano debut for Liverpool against Sheffield United F.C. on 24 February 2007, 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 F.C. on 31 March, Benítez called Mascherano a "monster of a player". Similarly, Javier Mascherano teammates were impressed by Javier Mascherano talent; Xabi Alonso noted how mature a player Javier Mascherano was for Javier Mascherano age, saying: "Javier Mascherano has a cool mind on the pitch. Javier Mascherano is analysing and thinking about the game in each moment." Javier Mascherano was voted Liverpool's man of the match by the fans on the official Liverpool website.

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

On 29 November 2009, Mascherano claimed the first goal in the 2–0 win against Everton F.C. at Goodison Park when Javier Mascherano 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. 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 Javier Mascherano 2nd red card of the season, Liverpool went on to lose the match 2–0. Mascherano had the worst disciplinary record of the 2009–10 Premier League season with seven yellow cards and two red. Javier Mascherano scored Javier Mascherano 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 FC won 3–1 to secure their place in the last 16 of the competition with an aggregate win of 4–1.
On 27 July 2010, after returning from a break after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Mascherano informed new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson that Javier Mascherano wanted to leave the Anfield club. During that break, Hodgson had failed with several attempts to contact Mascherano, able only to leave messages for Javier Mascherano saying that Javier Mascherano was looking forward to meeting Javier Mascherano back on Merseyside as Javier Mascherano calls went unreturned.

Mascherano was held in high esteem by the Liverpool fans, who gave Javier Mascherano Javier Mascherano own song, (to the tune of the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army"). After winning the 2011 UEFA 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".

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

Old Trafford Incident 2008

In Javier Mascherano first game at Old Trafford against Manchester United F.C. on 23 March 2008, Javier Mascherano was sent off after collecting two yellow cards. Javier Mascherano was initially booked for a late tackle on Paul Scholes, and later dismissed for running towards referee Steve Bennett (referee) to protest a Yellow card (sports) shown to Fernando Torres. Mascherano had to be pushed from the field of play by Steven Gerrard and Alonso. Rafa Benítez was also forced to leave the dug out and plead with Mascherano to leave the field. Javier Mascherano 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. Mascherano admitted the improper conduct charge levelled at him, but appealed against the further two-to-three-match suspension. However, this appeal was denied by the Football Association, and Mascherano was also fined £15,000. However Javier Mascherano demanded that this fine would be paid to a charity.

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 Javier Mascherano was at fault for failing to cover countryman Carlos Tévez, who scored for United less than three minutes into the game, Mascherano made amends for Javier Mascherano 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.

Barcelona (2010–Present)

On 28 August 2010, Javier Mascherano agreed terms on a four-year deal contract with Barcelona for Euro22 million. On 30 August 2010, Mascherano passed Javier Mascherano medical to complete Javier Mascherano transfer to Barça, and told Barça TV "All is fair in fair and love".
Javier Mascherano made Javier Mascherano 2010–11 La Liga debut on 11 September 2010, starting in a home 2–0 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 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 Javier Mascherano had upset during Javier Mascherano 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 round last 16 game, which the Catalan side beat the Gunners 3–1, 4–3 on aggregate.

International career

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

Javier Mascherano impact at youth levels was such that Javier Mascherano made Javier Mascherano senior international debut before playing a single minute for River Plate's first team (due to Javier Mascherano 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 national football team on July 16, 2003.

Halfway through the 2003-2004 in Argentine football, Mascherano was called up to play in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship. Argentina national under-20 football team again finished fourth with Mascherano the team's outstanding player. Javier Mascherano was however suspended for the third place play-off.

In January 2004, Javier Mascherano 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 Football at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.

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

In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Javier Mascherano played every minute of every game for Argentina national football team, with Argentina being knocked out by Germany in the Quarter-finals.

Javier Mascherano 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 Javier Mascherano was widely selected as the best Argentine player in a squad full of stars.

2008 saw another, less welcome, first as Mascherano received Javier Mascherano first red card for the national team after receiving two yellow cards in a match against the United States men's national soccer team, on 8 June 2008. Javier Mascherano was sent of in the 86th minute of the match, which went on to end 0–0.

Later that year, Mascherano was selected to represent Argentina in the Olympic games in Beijing as one of their over-23 year old players. Javier Mascherano 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." Argentina won the tournament making Mascherano only the second Argentine sportsman ever (following polo player Juan Nelson) to win two Olympic gold medals.

Soon after being appointed head coach of Argentina in November 2008, Diego Maradona announced that Javier Mascherano wanted Mascherano to be the team's captain. "I want Mascherano to be my captain because I believe Javier Mascherano 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," Javier Mascherano said. "I will convince him. Javier Mascherano will be my captain."

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

National team statistics


International goals

As of 11 August 2009

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