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Javier Mascherano

Javier Mascherano
Personal information
Full nameJavier Alejandro Mascherano
Date of birth8 June 1984(age 32)
Place of birthSan Lorenzo, Argentina
Height1.74 m
Playing positionDefensive midfielder
Club information
Current clubBarcelona

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Javier Alejandro Mascherano (-esma(s)tʃeˈɾano, -itmaske'rano; born 8 June 1984 in San Lorenzo) is an Argentine footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for FC Barcelona. He can also play as a central defender if needed.

Mascherano began his career at River Plate. He earned his first senior honours in 2003 04, winning the Primera División Argentina. He also won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in the Athens Games and finished runner up in the Copa América 2004. He moved to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2005, winning the Brazilian Série A in his first season. Mascherano moved to Europe, signing for Premier League side West Ham United. However, unusual contract terms with Media Sports Investments blighted his brief time at the club and at the beginning of 2007 he joined Liverpool on loan.

He was runner up in the UEFA Champions League in his first season on Merseyside and again finished runner up in the Copa América with Argentina. He officially signed for Liverpool in February 2008 for £18.6 million, parting ways with Media Sports Investments. He won a second Olympic gold medal with Argentina in the Beijing 2008 Games, the first male footballer to achieve this since 1928. He was appointed captain of the national team by new head coach Diego Maradona in November 2008 who has repeatedly stated that his selection is "Mascherano and 10 more".

Mascherano's two most used nicknames (in Argentina) are Masche and El Jefecito (The little chief). Former Argentine footballers Jorge Valdano and Jorge Solari regard him as possibly the best central midfielder in the world.

He was considered a key part of the national side by past coach Diego Maradona who stated that his team was just Jonás, Mascherano, Messi and eight more.

Mascherano also holds an Italian passport, which makes him eligible as an EU player.

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