BARCELONA | MASCHERANO

Mascherano: “It’s unlikely I’ll finish my career at Barcelona”

“A time will come when I won’t be up to the high standards expected at Barcelona,” said the midfielder.

Mascherano: “It’s unlikely I’ll finish my career at Barcelona”

Javier Mascherano is in no doubt that the “best years” of his career have been at Barcelona but the midfielder says it is unlikely that he’ll finish his playing career at the Camp Nou.

In an interview published today by Argentine newspaper Clarín, the former national team captain said: “I don’t think it will turn out that way. A time will come when my age will mean I won’t be up to the high standards that are expected here at Barcelona.

Mascherano, who turns 32 this year, added that “playing between 60 and 70 games a season is tough. I’ll have to play in a team that I can keep up with physically.”

"Whether you can play like Barcelona depends on the players you have. The mistake is trying to be like Barcelona, not just copying certain things.”

Javier Mascherano

He also discussed the high standards that Barcelona have set on the field in recent years: “when a team wins and plays well, it’s logical that others will try to copy them.

“The mistake is if you try to be the same, not just copy certain things. There are many ways of playing football and reaching the same objective. Whether you can play like Barcelona depends on the players you have. The mistake is trying to be like Barcelona, not just copying certain things.”

The Argentine has established himself as a first-team regular at Barcelona since arriving from England in 2010.

Mascherano joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010 and admits he’s very happy at the club. “I’m very grateful to be here,” he said. “It’s where I’ve spent the best years of my career. But being here means you can’t relax. The expectations are incredibly high and you have to really push yourself to the limit.

Competition, both within the squad and from outside, is very strong. I enjoy competing. I love the fact that I’m almost 32 and I’m still here in a position to keep fighting for my place in the team. It makes me feel alive.”

Turning to his role in the national team, it’s clear that La Albiceleste’s high-profile defeats to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and Chile in the 2015 Copa America final weigh heavy on his shoulders.

“The Copa America and above all the World Cup were two heavy, heavy blows. The World Cup was worse. It’s hard to forget, it’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”