Argentina, Barcelona legend Javier Mascherano retires from football


Argentina and Barcelona legend Javier Mascherano has called an end to a magnificent career.

Javier Mascherano was one of a dying breed. One that would give it his all in every match, not matter the shirt he was wearing, no matter the opponent. The last true warrior. He may not have been the most talented on the ball, but his intelligence on the pitch along with the heart and desire he brought was unparalleled.

Making his Argentina national team debut prior to making his senior River Plate debut, the 36 year old would go on to play 146 times for his country. For the Olympic team, Mascherano was selected twice, the first coming in 2004 and the second in 2008 four years later. The outcome was Argentina winning gold twice and Mascherano becoming the first Argentine athlete to win gold at two separate Olympic games.

With the senior side, he may not have scored many goals but his participation on the pitch ensured that Argentina would go far in tournaments. The heart beat of the Argentina national team for over a decade, the would truly leave it all on the pitch. The best seven matches of his entire career came in 2014 at the World Cup. Those four weeks in Brazil defined what Mascherano was for Argentina. A leader. Not that there was any doubt about it.

From keeping the midfield afloat in the group stages, to the iconic picture of himself standing in front of two much larger Belgium players, Mascherano proved it wasn’t the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog which mattered.

Arguably Mascherano’s most famous match with his country came in the semi finals of the 2014 World Cup vs. the Netherlands. He would be knocked out, dazed but it wouldn’t phase him. He would continue to play and in a last second tackle, the legendary number 14 would extend a foot in and block Arjen Robben’s shot, taking it out for a corner kick. Not only did he block what looked to be a goal but he also tore his anus.

But the heroics weren’t done yet. It was Lionel Messi wearing the captain’s armband but that wouldn’t stop Mascherano from motiving his team. The match was going to penalty kicks and he took goalkeeper Sergio Romero aside. His words of advice?

“Today, you become a hero.”

And he was right. Romero would go on to save two penalty kicks as Argentina were off to the World Cup final. No less than they had deserved.

Despite Argentina not winning that final and subsequently making two more Copa America finals and destiny not being in their favor, Mascherano’s influence on the team would continue to show. He would play his last match for his country at the 2018 World Cup vs. eventual winners France as he would call it quits after the final whistle.

Winning a total of 21 major trophies through his illustrious career, Mascherano’s legacy and impact on the teams he played for cannot be counted by numbers. Not by the amount of trophies won, or the amount of tackles put in. You can’t put leadership into numbers. And that’s what he was. A leader. Diego Maradona once famously said his team was “Mascherano and 10 others”. Some laughed and questioned Maradona’s sanitiy when he used that phrase. However, looking back, one can’t say he was fully wrong.

A career spanning 17 years at the biggest clubs in the world. River Plate, Corinthians, a short stint at West Ham, Liverpool and Barcelona, Mascherano had been there and done that at club level. He did it all. From la liga titles, to Champions League medals, even a treble, he has the credentials to prove it all. A stint at Hebei China Fortune saw him join Estudiantes where he would end his career.

Mascherano truly was one of the greats. Thank you for everything.


  1. Remember when maradonna was coach and he said only macherano is safe on the national side and every other player has to earn it.. even messi.. thx for all those years..

  2. The legend! the greatest in his position ever!!
    Xavier Alonso said tackling can only be an art, if it is from Javier Mascherano!!

    If we have half of him in the midfield, we are good to go to war.

  3. I remember during the game vs Nigeria in WC 2018….even blood was running down his cheeks….and he fought like a warrior, a true champ…..a true leader… both Barca and Argentina.
    I hope the current players from 2010 decade generation of Argentina take up upon the dreams of all those who went empty handed(Mascherano and Higuain)….and give them and themselves the final redemption…

    Neither Higuain nor Messi deserves any hatred coming towards them.

    May the almighty guide them…

    Vamos Argentina 😘😘😘

  4. Class Player and person ! Another true Warrior and one of the best at his generation retired; an idol and role for the next generation. Happy retirement El Jefecito, the little chief

  5. Well written piece. Mascherano was a true force in the teans he played for. What a character. The last true captain we had in the NT. He coached his team mates, motivated them and went first into battle.

  6. Nice post Roy summarising his legendary status, can’t forget his grit & determination whenever he plays for national team. Thanks Mascherano for the memories and good luck for your future. Waiting for you to produce few more DM’s & grit leaders like you for national team.

  7. Wow. What a legend. I thought he might play out the season at Estudiantes but no, today was his last game. Regardless he was an amazing player and leader. His tackle against Robben was something else. Him, with a serious and passionate look on his face telling Romero he will be a hero. He knew he had to inspire Romero to do well, and that he did. He also was one of the players that marked Barcelona’s glory days, such as Iniesta and Xavi who were icons. He is almost underrated, I never hear many people talking about him outside of the discussion of Argentina. He is definitely in the top 3 or 2 defensive midfielders Argentina have ever had, if we are looking at that position instead of center back. I wish him a great retirement, with his leadership quality I have no doubt he will be good at coaching and developing young talent. I know he will continue to have an impact.

  8. What a selfless legend. I believe he is starting his own football academy in Argentina . So guess he is not getting into professional coaching immediately & will focus on nurturing new talent through his academy.

Comments are closed.