Barcelona Transfer News: Javier Mascherano agrees new deal to stay at Camp Nou
There were rumours linking Italian giants Juventus with more than a passing interest in the versatile defender, but Barcelona fans will be relieved that nothing of substance materialised from those whispers.
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique will certainly be glad to have completed negotiations and finalised the deal to keep his ‘key’ man Mascherano at the club until 2019.
“I'd take this opportunity to say that I hope Mascherano renews soon,” he said at a press conference last week.
“He's a vital player for us. There's a negotiation with him and I know this will be the case. He's key.”
The 32-year-old arrived in Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010, in a deal worth £17m. "The truth is it's a dream, it's a great joy", he told Barca TV after completing his medical.
The Argentinian had a little trouble slotting in straight away at the club. In the first half of his debut season with the Blaugrana, he was limited to making appearances off the bench. In the later half of the season, he was played out of position in central defence. However, he soon earned the trust of his manager with reliable performances on a regular basis.
Originally a defensive midfielder, Mascherano has proven his versatility by gradually growing into the role of a central defender, where he is now an accomplished player.
Since his move to the Camp Nou, the defender has racked up quite the silverware collection. In his time with the club so far he has won two FIFA Club World Cups, three Copa Del Reys, two Spanish Super Cups, four La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.
Having already lost their full-back Daniel Alves to Juventus on a free transfer earlier in this transfer window, the Barcelona faithful had been worried that another of their defenders would follow.
Alves’ move to Italy came as a shock to many, including Luis Enrique himself. Enrique said: “I was surprised by him leaving. We were all surprised. He's a special player, positive, loving, cheerful, sometimes excessively so. We'll miss him. He was exemplary and as professional as few are. Juve have a great player and I wish him well.”