Barcelona recently progressed to the final of the Club World Cup after a comfortable 3-0

Barcelona recently progressed to the final of the Club World Cup after a comfortable 3-0 win over Chinese outfitGuangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC.

Luis Suarez turned out to be the hero for the Catalan club once again after his hat-trick. The club were overwhelming favourites to lift the Club World Cup, which has been dominated by European teams in the last decade. They will now face River Plate in the final of the competition. Prior to the emergence of European teams in the competition, South Americans used to be highly successful since they paid a lot of attention.

It appears that signing many South American players like Javier Mascherano and Neymar has helped Barcelona realise the importance of being successful in the Club World Cup. Mascherano claims that it is imperative that the club do well in this competition since it holds the key for the rest of the season. Chelsea were the last European team to be defeated with the Club World Cup, but they went on to win the Europa League in the same season. Even then, it was a major disappointment from the Premier League outfit. Barcelona may be strong in the la Liga and Champions League right now, but Mascherano says that this competition holds the key.

“It’s important for us and for the club the fact that we can go there and compete to be the best in the world and above all, obtain the prize.Barcelona are often talked about as a reference point in the world and now we have the chance to prove that. We know it will not be easy but we are excited about having the chance to do it. For us it is a very important competition and it will have an effect on the rest of the season,” said Mascherano.

Javier Mascherano has claimed that the recent 4-1 defeat for Barcelona

Midfielder Javier Mascherano has claimed that the recent 4-1 defeat for Barcelona against Celta de Vigo has left him with a bad taste in the mouth.

It was the first loss of the season for the Catalan club and the one that came in surprising circumstances. They were fully expected to continue their 100% start to the season. However, there have been recent wobbles from the reigning champions and the home team fully exploited the deficiencies. Barcelona’s impressive attack featuring the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar has been able to get the club out of trouble more often than not. However, they could only manage one goal against the home team.

Barcelona players are not used to losing often and this was the case with Mascherano, who felt extremely unhappy after the game. As a result of this defeat, Real Madrid have moved to the top of the table after achieving a narrow 2-1 win against Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique was very gracious in defeat since he felt that the home team played excellent football without trying any shortcuts for success. He says that there is no shame in losing to a team that played so well. Barcelona’s next game is at home to newly promoted Las Palmas.

"Those of us who have been a while in football, we know there can be a day when the opponent is better than you, and wins all the second balls and the individual duels, and does not give you any chance. It's partly our own fault, and partly down to the opponent, who played a perfect game. There are no excuses. They beat us well, we must hang our heads. I believe the most worrying thing was we were not as good as the opponent," Mascherano said.

Mascherano considers losing the Copa America as a torture

The Argentine national football side has not won any major title since 1993 which was the last time when Argentina won the Copa America. They had the chance of lifting the 2015 edition of the Copa America on July 4 as Argentina faced off with Chile in the finals but ultimately lost in penalty session.

Argentina were the favorites of winning the 2015 Copa America as the squad has some of the most talented players in the world including: Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore, Sergio Aguero and EzequielLavezzi just to name a few.

Even with all of that talent, it wasn’t enough as Chile came out on top with the victory.

Things haven’t been going so well for the Argentine national football team as they lost in the finals of the 2014 World Cup when playing against Germany and now failed to defeat Chile. The national of Argentina have been performing impressively but just come out short and struggle to push until the end.

Barcelona’s Javier Mascheranovoiced what it feels like to lose in yet another final as the Argentine defender said: Losing is torture, it’s a huge sadness.

Mascherano said: ‘’We had a good Copa America; we played a final as visitors and were up to it. Again we lacked that quota of luck to win; I really can’t find an explanation.I’m one of the oldest players in this squad. We have to accept what happened; unfortunately we couldn’t give the fans what we wanted to.’’

‘’Chile are a very good team but I think we neutralized them, we played the match we wanted to … We had moves to win it and unfortunately it wasn’t to be. The pain is immense and only gets worse.”

Mascherano was also part of the team which lost against Brazil in 2 Copa America finals back in 2004 and in 2007.

Javier Mascherano says that Club answered many critics

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano says that the club might have answered some critics after a brilliant win over Atletico Madrid.

The 3-1 win over the reigning league champions is a clear statement of intent according to Mascherano, who was part of the Barcelona team that were defeated 1-0 by relegation threatened the Real Sociedad after the season resumed in the first week of January.

The defeat raised further questions about manager Luis Enrique, who has been questioned a lot since the 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid several months ago. Even though Barcelona remain within touching distance of Madrid, Enrique has not been seen good enough to lead the team.

Mascherano says that this victory answers a lot of critics and it makes them shut their mouths for some time. More than the result, Enrique will be very pleased about the way in which his team went out to thrash the opponents. The score could have been much more had Barcelona been more clinical with the huge number of chances that they created. Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi looked to be in sync for the first time this campaign with each of them scoring a goal. The club may have failed to keep a clean sheet yet again, but Mascherano says that Barcelona are on the up.

"We'll take today's game as a reflection of what we can be -- that we can truly be competitive.Above all we need to reinforce that with the games that are coming up. It's important to repeatedly deliver what we produced tonight. First, this weekend against Deportivo, then in the Copa against Elche. We need to try and create a run of positive results with a good quality of play," said Mascherano. "We delivered a very complete game,” said star midfielder Andres Iniesta.

Javier Mascherano integral part of Argentine

Javier Mascherano was part of the Argentine team that lost 1-0 to Germany in the World Cup 2014 final.

The midfielder may have just turned 30 years of age, but he remains an integral part of the Argentina team. He has the right mixture of experience and playing capabilities to be a force even at the next World Cup. The Barcelona defender, though, has revealed that he considered the possibility of retiring from international duty after the World Cup. Since making his debut in 2003, Mascherano has gone on to make more than 100 appearances for the national team.

Since the move to Barcelona in 2010, Mascherano has been playing as a defender. This versatility is also a huge boon for Argentina manager Gerardo Martino. Lionel Messi may be the reigning captain of the Argentina national team, but Mascherano remains one of the leaders on the pitch. After the World Cup 2014, several top players like Miroslav Klose and Philipp Lahm announced their international retirement. This came after they managed to win the ultimate prize in world football – World Cup. Mascherano says that if Argentina had been successful in the final, he would have not thought twice about retiring.

Argentina have been inconsistent under Martino and their recent friendly against Portugal ended in a 1-0 defeat.“It’s not easy to leave the national team, it’s not a decision you can make overnight. You have to be very sure, there’s no return from such decision. I was 50-50.I didn’t get to do what Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose did: retire as a World Champion. But perhaps I had the chance to leave with a positive image. But I think I still have time left. I don’t only say that from a personal point of view, I also see people by my side who are eager to achieve something,” said Mascherano.

Saha Praises Pires

Louis Saha has said that his compatriot Robert Pires is a great signing for the Indian club FC Goa.
Saha believes that the 40-year old play maker is a class act and no matter in which tournament he plays, he always looks to win.
In a British television programme, Saha was quoted as saying, “Robert is very elegant. You can travel miles to watch such players. He is an absolute pleasure to the eye. It’s good for ISL that he has signed up. He is going to light up the tournament there in India.”
“He has been out of the game for three years now but, knowing him I can tell you, he would try as hard as he can to guide his team to glory. He’s a motivated personality and spending time with him will be good for the young Goa players. He would be passing a lot of key advices to them.”
Saha himself was also rumoured to be going to sign up for the franchise based football league in India. But, in that same television programme, he cleared the air saying that he has no such intentions.
When asked if he is also interested to pen a deal with one of the ISL clubs, Saha said, “I would have loved to join, but, I have some other commitments as well. So, I can’t visit India at the present moment, but, I would like to see the tournament becoming a great hit and I am sure it will happen.”
Saha had called time on his career last year. The last club which he played for was the Italian club Lazio. He played for them just for 6 months before being let go at the end of the 2012-13 Season.

Schweinsteiger Is Aware Of Mascherano

German international Bastian Schweinsteiger has stated that his team are wary of the tackling abilities of midfielder Javier Mascherano. The former Liverpool midfielder was a major reason in Argentina reaching the final of the World Cup 2014. He prevented a number of opportunities for Netherlands in the semi-final by making last-ditch challenges. Germany come into the final after achieving a historic result by beating home team Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final. Hence, they are overwhelming favourites to beat Argentina team that has so far been winning by the odd goal.

Even though all the focus has been on Lionel Messi, Schweinsteiger says that the threat from Mascherano should not be discounted. The Barcelona midfielder has been playing in defence for the last few years and it appears to have improved his tackle abilities even further. He will be coming up against some of the best strikers in the World Cup 2014 in the form of Thomas Müller and Miroslav Klose. Both players are on the verge of creating new records.

Schweinsteiger, however, told the Plain Sailing facebook page that nobody is favourite to win the World Cup final since both teams have proved over the tournament that they are the best of the best.

Germany will be looking to become the first European team to win the tournament in a South American country.

"Javier Mascherano is the leader of a pack of wolves - as he showed with the tackle against Arjen Robben to deny him a goal. You see what kind of attitude he has for his country. It will not be easy for us. Argentina are a very, very good team who are deservedly in the final. They have world-class players with Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero. We have to be patient but if we show our quality on the pitch and we have the necessary cleverness then we can beat this team,” said Schweinsteiger.

Barcalona Pay Tribute

Barcelona were left hugely saddened by the death of their former manager Tito Vilanova. The former assistant manager to Pep Guardiola had a lot of connections with the club. Even though he was their manager for only one season, he led them to the league title before ultimately stepping down due to health reasons. The 45-year-old has recently passed their way after several years of battle with cancer. The cancer was first diagnosed when he was working as the assistant manager to Guardiola, with whom he had forged a great friendship when they were playing at the Barcelona youth academy.

Vilanova and Guardiola are widely thought to be responsible for heralding one of the most successful eras in Barcelona’s history. Working in tandem, they led the club to an incredible 14 trophies in the space of five years. Vilanova was unable to repeat the magic in terms of other competitions, but he did lead them to league title success. Midfielder Javier Mascherano says that the club will continue to fight against all adversaries like Vilanova did during his latter stages of his life.

Barcelona paid tribute to the former manager with a 3-2 win over Villarreal during the weekend. All the players wore a black band for this match.

"Each one of us is getting on in our way. Everything is so fresh and the only thing we can do is stand by his family and try to share their pain. Tito always treated me very well. Whenever we won a title, I would hug him and thank him for the experience. What we have to do is fight until the end like Tito. We have a lot of fight left in us. We knew that his battle was a hard one but we never imagined that this would happen until it did," said the midfielder.

TITLE KNOCKBACK

Barcelona’s loss in their last La Liga match against Valencia has pushed them back in the title race, but, one of their senior players Javier Mascherano is still very confident and he reckons that the title has not gone out of his team’s hands.

If technically seen, the Argentinean defender is not wrong as there are still more than 15 games to go in the league. So, there is enough time left for things to turn around. But, the kind of form the other title contenders are in at the moment, this defeat might prove to be very costly for Barcelona.

Barcelona went into the game against Valencia with all cylinders firing. They took the lead in the 7th minute courtesy Alex Sanchez. They managed to keep up that lead throughout the first half and it seemed as if it would be another easy win for the defending champions, but, the second half started in a dramatic fashion. The visitors found the net twice within 3 minutes and got ahead by 2-1 to silence the huge number of home fans who had gathered there.

However, it didn’t take Barcelona too much time to level up as Lionel Messi converted a penalty successfully in the 54th minute, but, just 5 minutes later, the hosts were trailed again and the man who had done the damage for them this time around was Paco Alcacer. The 20 years old forward placed his sweep shot to perfection and stunned everybody.

Barcelona couldn’t equalize thereafter and ended up suffering their second defeat in the tournament.

Talking to the reporters after the match, Mascherano said, “It’s not ideal to get beaten in home games. We need to make sure that such thing doesn’t happen again in the rest of the season.”
“It’s very much possible for us to bounce back as there is no lack of time, but, we can’t afford any more mistakes.”

DEFEATED

Barcelona suffered the first league defeat of the season after a 1-0 score against Athletic Bilbao. As a result of the defeat, Atletico Madrid have moved level on points with the Catalan club at the top of the table.

After going several points ahead of archrivals Real Madrid, Barcelona were expected to coast to the title. However, this defeat has proved to be a major setback since it comes only days after the defeat in the Champions League to Ajax. A lot of questions have been asked about Barcelona's style of play since the start of the season.

Gerardo Martino has been able to escape significant pressure because he has been achieving results, but another defeat could prove to be disastrous for the Argentine, who was appointed only in the summer. Javier Mascherano has become one of the important players since his £ 25 million move from Liverpool. He has said that this defeat was indeed bad for the club, but he remains confident of recovering the form that has made Barcelona incredibly successful over the last few years. It is expected that Atletico Madrid will also be a title challenger this season. They have been able to stay in touch with Barcelona up until Christmas.

"It hurts to be beaten. Nobody likes to lose but let's not forget we are still leaders. We have to win the games that are left this year, beginning with the matches against Cartagena and Villarreal," said the former Liverpool midfielder to Barcelona's official website. The club's next match will be against Cartagena. This match will be part of the Copa del Rey, which is a trophy that Gerardo Martino will be keen to win. Mascherano has largely been used as a defensive player since his move to the camp Nou and he has so far excelled in it.

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres
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