Saturday, December 16

Javier Mascherano to quit Argentina duty next year

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano targets World Cup success next summer with Argentina before retiring from international football.

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano has revealed that he will retire from international duty after next summer's World Cup finals.

The 33-year-old has represented La Albiceleste on 139 occasions, most recently featuring in the 3-1 win over Ecuador earlier this week that helped secure a spot at Russia 2018.

Mascherano intends to call it quits at the end of next summer if he is included in Jorge Sampaoli's squad, but first he wants to go one better than 2014 by helping Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi to lift the famous cup.

"For a lot of people the story could have finished, but thanks to god it was not like this," he told Spanish newspaper Sport. "If I get to Russia, that will be the end. I know that for sure.

"Lionel Messi owns this game and when you own the game you have ability to make things happen. I hope we can help him in Russia. We enjoyed him and now we have to help him. We have the chance to dream.

"It's a World Cup and we can remember how we played in Brazil. We have to prepare in these seven or eight months to arrive in the best form possible, and we'll try to do it."

Mascherano has spent the last seven years of his club career at Barcelona, having joined from Liverpool in a £17m transfer.

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