Javier Mascherano

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Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

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The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Barcelona: Mascherano out for a month with hamstring injury

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be sidelined for about a month because of a hamstring injury.

Mascherano hurt his right leg while playing in Argentina’s 4-2 loss to Nigeria in a friendly in Russia on Tuesday.

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Tests conducted on Wednesday in Barcelona showed the extent of the injury.

The 33-year-old Argentine played the entire game against Nigeria.

Barcelona’s next game is Saturday at Leganes in the Spanish league.

The Catalan club leads La Liga with 31 points from 11 matches, four points more than second-place Valencia.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Report has Mascherano hoping MLS meets his salary demands

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Thirty-three year-old Javier Mascherano remains one of Barcelona’s most effective players, so what would he do to an MLS XI?

We may find out, even if the longtime destroyer and current center back is calling Barca’s bluff via a Sport report out of Spain.

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According to it, Mascherano has two interests regarding his new contract: Go to Major League Soccer or stay at Barcelona… in that order?

Apparently, Mascherano has the Catalan club’s backing as well. Translated from Sport:

His desire is clear. If a franchise in the USA meets his demands, Barcelona will let him go. In the opposite case, he will continue at the club. Open doors and absolute willingness to comply with a player who has given his all to the club.

The Argentine star has collected trophies since coming to Barca from Liverpool, and remains an important part of his national team’s side.

Mascherano has been playing center back for club and country, and Barca has only lost one match with him in the lineup (the second leg of the Super Cup against Real Madrid).

He’s not an every week guy, but WhoScored rates only Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergi Roberto ahead of him. Per game, he’s behind only Messi according to Squawka.

Imagining a player like Mascherano, he of the 91 percent pass completion despite boasting the longest average pass on Barca, springing some freakish attackers in MLS is almost intoxicating (whether he’s playing defensive mid or center back).

Now imagine old pal Tata Martino and Atlanta United using its (possible) profit from a sale of Miguel Almiron or Hector Villalba to lead a move for Mascherano and, by extension, send players in on goal (We suppose LAFC, the Galaxy, and New York City FC wouldn’t hate the idea, either).

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PSG, Barca quizzed on Neymar rumors; Pique blasts Ligue 1

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We don’t have a ton of sympathy for them, but credit to Barcelona stars Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique for giving actual answers when put in the awkward position of hearing the media’s Neymar-to-PSG questions on Tuesday night.

PSG boss Unai Emery was far less interested in doing that.

Emery has refused to comment on speculation linking Neymar to big move to the Parc des Princes.

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Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s International Champions Cup match against Juventus, Emery had nothing of substance to say to the idea of Brazil’s captain heading to his stable.

“Our focus is to talk about the game tomorrow and a season to get ready for. I prefer to focus on the present moment and the preparation with the team.”

As for Edinson Cavani?

On the Barca side of things, Mascherano said he thinks Neymar will stay because he’s very important to the team, while Pique backed off a little after causing a stir by posting a photo of the defender with Neymar captioned, “He stays.”

“The post was nothing official, it was a gut thing, it doesn’t depend on me. Only (Neymar) can say what will happen, but I hope he stays. I tried to explain to Neymar, as a team-mate and a friend, the situation he’s in. I would say don’t go to a league which, with all due respect, is not as good.”

Boom, roasted (Though there’s some pot-kettle-black here, as there’s a fairly precipitous drop-off further down La Liga’s table, too).

Mascherano still believes Neymar is “the future” of Barcelona

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The Neymar-to-PSG saga has escalated quickly, and signs of the Brazilian’s move to Paris are growing, but one Barcelona player remains confident that his compatriot will stay in Spain ahead of the new La Liga season.

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PSG has shown a willingness over recent days to meet Barca’s worldly $260 million transfer fee for the 25-year-old, while Neymar has reportedly alerted his teammates that he will in fact be heading to the Parc des Princes next month.

Veteran Barcelona midfielder/defender Javier Mascherano is one of the Blaugrana players that hopes Neymar will stick around and help anchor the La Liga giants for years to come despite a possible massive payday in store.

“Obviously he is young and I hope he’s here with Barcelona for many more years,” the Argentina defender said to ESPN.

“He is a really important player for the club. Because of his age, he’s the future of the club and we hope we can keep on counting on him.

“He’s accustomed to the pressure and people talking. There’s always going to be rumours and news around him.

“It’s really difficult to give advice. Firstly, I’m not anyone to be giving advice and secondly, I see him really happy here, really happy. [Barca] are a club that have made it possible for him to perform at his best. But after that, each person has to make their own decisions.”

If Neymar does bolt for Paris the complexion of the MSN-Barca attack changes drastically despite still boasting elite talents Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

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Barca has done little in the transfer market this summer, only adding Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo of Benfica. The club continues to pursue Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho, however, the Reds recently rejected a bid of $93 million.