Guardiola: ‘Javier is an almost unimaginable signing. He’s the type of player that a manager wouldn’t trade for anything, and would never sell. He’s a unique signing, we’re very pleased to have him’
– Javier Mascherano joined Barcelona in August 2010 from Liverpool. Initially, he struggled to make the team on a regular basis as he was in direct competition with Sergio Busquets for the defensive midfield role. This led to quite a heated debate between supporters of the two players as to who should play.
Some people soon considered Masche to be a wasted buy and wanted him to be sold as soon as possible. I would like to state categorically that I was not one of those. I always felt that there was room for both players at FC Barcelona.
Through all this controversy, Mascherano remained completely unmoved. He was the consumate professional working hard so that he would be ready for whatever role was required of him. I can clearly remember him enthusiastically leading the bench celebrations during our 5-0 Manita victory over Madrid. Masche was happy because he was where he truly wanted to be. All he needed was his opportunity to play regularly.
Masche’s opportunity came midway through last season with Puyol’s long term injury and Abidal’s serious illness. To alleviate the impending crisis, Pep decided to play Masche as a central defender. The rest, as they say, is history. I will always remember Masche’s brilliant last ditch tackle to save the game against Arsenal.
Since then, Masche has established himself as our number one central defender. Masche’s quality allows the other nominal defenders licence to roam forward as he provides the necessary cover. Masche is now an integral part of our team with his talents fully appreciated by all Barcelona fans.
JAVIER MASCHERANO: THE BLAUGRANA MINISTER FOR DEFENSE!!!!!!