Barcelona fans launch petition asking Lionel Messi to let Javier Mascherano take penalties
An online petition has been drafted by fans of Barcelona Football Club addressed to Lionel Messi asking him to let the next penalty be taken by his club and Argentine teammate, Javier Mascherano.
Mascherano – who joined the Catalan club in 2010 – has won the Liga BBVA thrice, the Champions League twice and the FIFA Club World Cup twice in 264 appearances for the club. Yet the surprising fact is that the Argentine is yet to find the back of the net for the Catalans and the fans are rallying behind letting Lionel Messi to let Mascherano take the next penalty.
"We believe that Javier Mascherano does not have the recognition he deserves as a star player for Barca," a statement explaining the petition reads.
"He has given so much to the team we see it unfair he is not recognised as he deserves, as unfortunately in football everything is measured in goals and we want him to get a goal for the club.
"The easiest way is to enable it to take a penalty, and we ask Leo Messi to do this."
Mascherano spent five years in England with West Ham United and Liverpool and found the back of the net only twice, for the latter. Playing as a deep central midfielder, his job is to guard the defense, yet many would argue that other deep-lying midfielders have scored goals. John Obi-Mikel just scored a goal for Chelsea last night against Champions League opposition, Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi gave up his last penalty - intended for Neymar - that was scored by Luis Suarez and the fans plead with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to do the same but this time, let his Argentine teammate to tuck it away.
Barcelona are travelling to face Sporting Gijon in the Liga later tonight. Let's hope Mascherano gets on the scoresheet then.