The Argentinian Javier Mascherano returned to his homeland in January with Estudiantes, but after 17 years he decided to hang up his boots.
Mascherano, a fighting midfielder for River Plate, Corinthians, Liverpool and Barcelona among other clubs, made a surprise announcement after his Estudiantes lost 1-0 to Argentinos Juniors in Sunday’s league match.
Former West Ham, Liverpool and Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has retired from football.
At 36, the Argentine returned to his homeland after joining Estudiantes in January from Hebei China Fortune, but has now decided to stop playing after serving on senior teams for 17 years.
Mascherano started his career at River and then moved to Brazil with the Corinthians.
However, it was a controversial move to West Ham in 2006 that drew public attention, especially in Europe, to Mascherano.
Despite being one of the most sought-after young players in the world at the time, he and Carlos Tevez joined West Ham in the Premier League.
Third party ownership and other player ownership rules ultimately eclipsed his performance on the pitch, but he did enough to move to Liverpool in 2007.
Despite not winning major honors with the Reds under Rafa Benitez, he has grown to become one of the most tactically skilled central midfielders in Europe.
Eventually Barcelona came to us and in 2010 he joined Blaugrana for 24 million euros.
His period at the Camp Nou will be the most successful part of his career as he won five La Liga titles, two Champions League titles and five Spanish Cups during his time in Catalonia.
It was also during this time that he adapted to play as a center-back under the guidance of head coach Pep Guardiola, whose desire to play the ball from behind led to the Argentine teammate’s great success with Gerard Piquet in the center of the back line.
His career ended with a move to China before eventually moving to Estudiantes.
Mascherano explained the reasons for his choice at the club’s press conference on Sunday.
“It’s time to end my career because of the things that have happened to me in recent months, which on a personal level and after all this time thinking about it, the best thing is to end today,” he said.
“I lived my profession 100 percent, I gave my best, and today I found that it was difficult for me for a while and I do not want to disrespect Estudiantes, who entrusted me to return to Argentina, or my colleagues., Or this profession” …Javier Mascherano.
“This is not to do with the club or the result, but with the feelings that a person has lately, which dispel the illusion that you are a football player.
“After the pandemic, I thought I would feel the spark again, but the truth is I couldn’t. Out of respect for everyone, it’s time to step aside and end this race. I didn’t want to waste time walking by.
“Javier Mascherano in his words said: i am eternally grateful to the clubs I have played for, the teammates I have had throughout my career, and Estudiantes, who have given me the opportunity to come and play lately. It was less than I expected, it happened that way, and sometimes you don’t choose the end.
“I thank [trainer Leandro] Desabato, the institute and my colleagues for putting up with me for the last time.”
“I’ve lived my profession as 100% as possible, and for a while it’s getting harder,” he told reporters. “Sometimes you don’t choose the end, it just happens.”
Mascherano‘s most successful performance was at Barcelona, where he won 19 titles in eight years, including five championships in La Liga and two Champions League.
He played 147 times for Argentina, appearing in four World Cup finals. He also won two gold medals with the Argentine Olympic team in 2004 and 2008.