Mascherano will not force Barcelona exit
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona have told Javier Mascherano they do not want him to leave amid reports in Spain and Italy that Juventus are attempting to lure him to Turin.
The defensive midfielder, who is 32 on Wednesday, is under contract until June 2018 and has a 100 million euros ($113 million) release clause.
Mascherino said to Ole newspaper: "Barca have let me know that they have no intention of me leaving. They are very happy with me.
"When the club, and even more so this club, tells you this, it is very difficult to leave. I am not going to force anything. Nobody involved deserves that.
"There is always the possibility of leaving, but also of staying. I have a contract with Barcelona. They have treated me very well, I have no complaints," said the Argentine who is with his national squad in the United States for the Copa America.
Mascherano started 44 games for Barca last season, helping them win the league and cup double, and has been a regular since signing from Liverpool in 2010.
Barcelona sporting director Roberto Fernandez last week described Mascherano as a "vital player" who he was sure would stay at the club who have announced the departures of defenders Dani Alves and Marc Bartra.
"I will do nothing to muddy my relationship with Barcelona," Mascherano said.
"They have always been very good and the day I leave the club, I do not want to go with a bad taste in the mouth."
(Reporting by Adriana Garcia, editing by Neil Robinson)