Barcelona bids Mascherano emotional farewell

Javier Mascherano has been honoured with a special farewell ceremony by Barcelona after it was announced the defender had completed his move to China
Barcelona held the ceremony on Wednesday morning after confirming the defender would move to Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.

Mascherano was visibly moved by Barcelona’s gesture and appeared to be fighting back tears as Lionel Messi and Co watched on.

The Argentine was given a warm hug by Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who presented Mascherano with with a photo of himself alongside the 18 trophies he won during his eight years at the Nou Camp.

Messi also embraced his compatriot and former team-mate as Mascherano was given a grand send-off ahead of his January transfer.
The likes of Messi, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets were all in attendance alongside current Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.

Mascherano is set to say his farewells to Barcelona supporters at Thursday’s Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg with Espanyol.
Mascherano has lost his place in the Barcelona first team this season with Ernesto Valverde preferring Samuel Umtiti to partner Gerard Pique at centre back.

Umtiti’s recent injury saw Barcelona bring forward the signing of Yerry Mina and the Colombian defender’s arrival further increased the competition at centre back.

Mascherano made 334 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions and scored once, a penalty against Osasuna back in April.

The 33-year-old announced in October that he would retire from international duty with Argentina at the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mascherano signed for Barcelona from Liverpool back in 2010 and won 18 trophies across his time at the Nou Camp, including four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues.

The defender had previously played for River Plate in his homeland, Brazilian side Corinthians and West Ham in the Premier League before his move to Liverpool.

Mascherano has amassed 141 caps for his country Argentina, scoring three goals, since making his international debut in 2003.

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