Javier Mascherano on FC Barcelona, River Plate, the World Club Cup and sushi

Javier Mascherano during the interview / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The Argentine international and first team veteran opens up in an interview with fcbarcelona.com and Barça TV ahead of the tournament in Japan

Mascherano and River Plate

Javier Mascherano began his footballing career back in his native Argentina at River Plate, one of Barça’s rivals for the World Club Cup. The Barça man explains his relation to his former club: “River is my home club, I joined them when I was 15 and I developed there as a player and as a person.” “I was happy they won the Copa Libertadores but I would have preferred another opponent. However, I owe myself to Barça and I am excited about becoming World Club Cup champions again with my team mates.”

In an interview with Barça TV and fcbarcelona.com prior to leaving for Japan, Javier Mascherano touches on the challenge that the FIFA World Club Cup represents for the squad, his past with one of Barça’s rivals for the title, River Plate as well his memories of his previous visit to the country when he was part of the FC Barcelona team that claimed the Club’s second victory in the competition back in 2011.

“It’s important for us and for the Club the fact that we can go there and compete to be the best in the world and above all, obtain the prize. Often FC Barcelona is talked about as a reference point in the world and now we have the chance to crown ourselves as such. We know it will not be easy but we are excited about having the chance to do it,” says the Argentine international.

The important of the World Club Cup to Mascherano is only too clear. The versatile member of the Barça squad has fond memories of being part of the victorious 2011 team. “The memory is the best. We spent six or seven great days in Japan. We played the semi-final against a side from Qatar and we did not have too many problems. Above all I remember the final, it was an almost perfect game for us against a team who on paper were very tough with plenty of talented players like Neymar. We managed to nullify them and have a great night and become champions,” remembers Mascherano.

“Lots of people believe that this is a minor competition, but it is not like that, they are wrong. For us it is a very important competition and it will have an effect on the rest of the season,” adds the Argentine.

On the Messi-Suárez-Neymar trio, their team mate is unequivocal. “It’s the best [trio] I have seen. To say we will see nothing like it again, you never know. The most surprising thing is that they complement each other so well and each one of them brings us something different. That they get on so well and to not let egos get in the way is not easy, it’s not easy to share the limelight the way they do. They do it naturally and modestly. They mark the way forward for the team. If the stars get on so well then it is up to the rest to follow that example,” the blaugrana explains.

Mascherano also highlights the excellent defensive form of the side and his own personal happiness. Of his future he says: “It’s difficult to leave Barça. I don’t think there is a better place, not just to work but also to live.”

The Argentine’s love of the Japanese way of life and his feelings about sushi are also discussed in the interview which you can see in its entirety in the video above.