Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36. Having played for clubs like Barcelona, Liverpool, River Plate and Corinthians, Mascherano revealed his surprise decision following a 1-0 loss for his side Estudiantes against Argentinos Juniors in an Argentine Primera Division match on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, Mascherano said, “I lived my profession 100 percent, to the maximum that I possibly can, and for a while now that has been getting harder. Sometimes you don’t choose the end, it happens all by itself.”
Mascherano began his career at River Plate before moving over to Corinthians. Then it was on to the Premier League, first with West Ham United and then Liverpool. However, his most successful spell by far was in La Liga, playing for Barcelona, where he clinched 19 titles in a span of eight years, including five La Ligas and two Champions Leagues.
On the national side, Mascherano played for Argentina on 147 occasions and appeared in four World Cup finals. He also bagged two gold medals for the Argentine Olympics squad in 2004 and 2008.
Mascherano also spent a brief period in China before returning to Argentina and eventually round up his career at Estudiantes.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Lluis Gene