Javier Mascherano is an Argentine footballer who currently captains the Argentina national team and plays club football for Spanish giants Barcelona. Known for his world class tackling, tactical awareness and passing abilities Mascherano has won several titles in his career including several La Liga titles, one Champions League title and much more. Mascherano has commonly been deployed in the centre of defence for Barcelona although being a central defensive midfielder.
The Argentine began his career in his native country at River Plate where he made his debut in 2003. During his first season at the club, Mascherano won the Clausura Championship. Nevertheless, this was to be his only success as River Plate went without a trophy the following season. The beginning of the 2005/06 campaign saw the midfielder move to Brazilian club Corinthians for $15 million. As the domestic season in Brazil commences in April, Mascherano actually joined the club half way through the campaign. Following a good start to his Corinthians career, the midfielder suffered an injury causing him to miss the end of the season. Nevertheless, the start of the following season saw the club in relegation trouble despite some promising performances from Mascherano. Rumours began to spread that the player would be moving on during the European summer transfer window.
On the last day of the 2006 window, Mascherano and teammate Carlos Tevez shocked the world with a double move to Premier League club West Ham United. Unfortunately, the transfer was a disaster for the player who watched his new club go into freefall upon his arrival. The Argentine only made five appearances for the team before moving on loan to Liverpool during the final day of the 2007 winter transfer window. After some initial registration problems, Mascherano hugely impressed in the centre of midfield and was named the Man of the Match in Liverpool 's 2007 Champions League final defeat to AC Milan. The player made his loan move permanent in the summer after signing a new four year contract in the summer of 2008. Mascherano has been a major player in Liverpool 's midfield ever since.
Apart from being a success at domestic level, Mascherano has also been prominent at international level. At the 2004 Olympics, Mascherano played a large part in leading Argentina to a gold medal that also helped announce himself on the international scene. Ever since, the midfielder has been a major part of the Argentina team. He performed well throughout the 2006 World Cup where the team were knocked out in the quarter finals before winning a second Olympic gold medal in 2008. Following Diego Maradona 's appointment as national team coach, Mascherano was made the captain of Argentina. The team narrowly qualified for the 2010 World Cup with Mascherano being one of only two players, the other being Lionel Messi, to play in every qualification match under Maradona.