JAVIER MASCHERANO profile from www.ContactThePlayers.com
Javier Mascherano is a midfielder for Argentina and Liverpool in the English Premier League. He is a deep-lying central midfielder, at his best when he is concentrating fully on blocking and destroying the opposition’s attacking plays, rather than trying to get forward. That said, he has a phenomenal shot on him, and has a knack of passing the ball exactly where the attackers want it to be played. Since Diego Maradona took over, he has been captain of Argentina’s national side, and is the only Argentine sportsman to win two Olympic gold medals.
Javier Mascherano was born on 8th June 1984 in San Lorenzo, Argentina. He was a hyper-active youngster who enjoyed nothing more than playing football with his school friends all weekend, so it was no surprise when he won himself a place in River Plate’s academy, after some years in the youth teams closer to home. He is a proud Argentine, and wasn’t scared of the hard-work that was necessary to get into the first team at River.
Mascherano made his full international debut before he had even played a game for River Plate – with his superb performances, dominating the midfield at the U-20 World Cup, pushing coach Basile to bring him into the first team – if only so that he could get a closer look at young Javier.
After two successful seasons with River Plate, which included reaching the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores (the South American Champions League), he was touted for a move to Real Madrid or one of the other European greats. It was a shock when he eventually moved to rivals Corinthians for $15m, who suddenly had pots of cash following investment from secretive backers.
He was joined at the club by Carlos Tevez, and the pair joined half-way through the Brazilian season. By the end of the season, Mascherano had won his first title-winning medal. The following season proved to be less fruitful. Starting in April, Corinthians were in the relegation zone when the league was put off for the 2006 World Cup. Mascherano had vowed to return and fight to help Corinthians back up the table, but his performances for Argentina were such that all of the great and good of Europe were lining up to sign him after the World Cup had finished.
Some decidedly dodgy dealings with West Ham by MSI – the owners of Corinthians and also, it turned out, the owners of player – led to Mascherano joining the lowly East-London side rather than the Manchester Uniteds of this world, alongside Corinthians team-mate Carlos Tevez.
Whilst Tevez won a place in the side, Mascherano struggled to jump over the cultural and language barriers. He was allowed to leave West Ham after just 6 months at the club, on loan to Liverpool, and was thankful to finally be getting a game.
At Liverpool, Mascherano’s move was held up because of technicalities with his ownership status – in the Premier League the clubs must have 100% ownership of every player on their books. Even though he was only on loan, Javier had to wait for clearance from FIFA before he could play in front of the Kop.
With Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez lauding Mascherano with compliments, Javier soon settled in at Liverpool, and played a key role in their pursuit of the Champions League, which eventually ended against AC Milan in the Final. Mascherano was finally signed by Liverpool in February 2008, with Liverpool paying £18.6m to buy Javier out of the contract with MSI. He had become an important member of the Liverpool midfield, with Gerrard and Alonso charged with play-making whilst he tackles and wins the ball back.
Liverpool are finally challenging for the league title, and Mascherano is a key member of the team, and will be for years to come.