Javier Mascherano commits future to Barcelona after strong Juventus speculation

Barcelona has already lost one of its greatest players to Juventus after the Turin outfit signed right-back Dani Alves. However the Serie A club couldn’t manage to land their second Barca target, with the Argentine committing his future to the Blaugrana.

Javier Mascherano has been an instrumental player for Barcelona since joining from Liverpool in 2010. He initially started out as a defensive midfielder making most of his appearances off the bench, but was later converted to a center-back during Barca’s successful 2010-11 UEFA Champions League run.

The Argentine made the position his own, going on to partner Gerard Pique in the heart of the Barcelona defence. He has made 282 appearances in six seasons with the club, winning four La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and two Champions League trophies.

However with Barcelona faltering in the Champions League last season, there have been several doubts cast over the future of the Argentine. Serie A giants Juventus were reportedly on the brink of signing the 32-year-old and the player himself was believed to be keen on a move, with his starting place in jeopardy. However Barcelona officials made efforts to make him stay during the Copa America, and ultimately succeeded in convincing him.

Mascherano is now looking forward to the future with Barcelona, where his contract runs till 2018.

“I hope that we will have a good season,” he told reporters in Guatemala, according to ESPN.

“As always, I start the season with a lot of excitement, I hope that it will be the best yet.”

The report also says that Mascherano is looking at “many more years” with the Blaugrana.

FC Barcelona's press conference

Mascherano’s high hopes for the future may be a tad bit optimistic, with the ambitious Catalan club looking to bolster their defence this summer. Barca have already completed the transfer of 22-year old Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti, and the Frenchman will be directly in competition with Mascherano for a starting spot.

Umtiti averaged 2.6 interceptions per game last season, compared to Mascherano’s 2.3. He is also ahead when it comes to clearances, making 4.7 to the Argentine’s 1.7, and is marginally ahead in blocks made per 90 minutes. However Mascherano leads Umtiti in terms of tackles, with 2.5 to Umtiti’s 1.5. It remains to be seen how Luis Enrique plans to accommodate both defenders into his set-up for next season.

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