Saturday 24 February 2018

Javier Mascherano leaves Barcelona after eight years in big money move to China

Barcelona FC president Josep Maria Bartomeu (L) hugs Barcelona's Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano during a farewell ceremony organised by the football club in Barcelona ahead of his transfer to China on January 24, 2018.
Mascherano was unveiled as the latest big name to move to China, signing for Hebei China Fortune from Barcelona. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona FC president Josep Maria Bartomeu (L) hugs Barcelona's Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano during a farewell ceremony organised by the football club in Barcelona ahead of his transfer to China on January 24, 2018. Mascherano was unveiled as the latest big name to move to China, signing for Hebei China Fortune from Barcelona. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

Javier Mascherano's Barcelona career is over after his move to Hebei China was confirmed.

The 33-year-old Argentina international, who played both in midfield and defence for Barca after arriving from Liverpool in 2010, will officially move to the Chinese Super League club on Friday.

La Liga leaders Barca announced on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached, a day after revealing Mascherano was set to receive "an institutional farewell" from the Nou Camp outfit.

He made 334 appearances for the Catalans, winning 18 trophies including two Champions League titles and four Spanish championships.

Barca's first statement on Tuesday read: "Although he was originally signed as a defensive midfielder, he was used at centre-back to cover for the many injuries in that area of the pitch and did such a good job that he would go on to play just as often in that position as he did in the middle of the park.

"Only three foreigners have ever played more games for Barca than the 'Little Chief', namely Leo Messi, Phillip Cocu and Dani Alves."

San Lorenzo-born Mascherano first arrived in Europe when signing for West Ham from Brazilian club Corinthians in a surprise double deal that also took Carlos Tevez to Upton Park in the summer of 2006. In January 2007 he joined Liverpool, initially on loan, and signed for the Reds on a permanent basis in February 2008.

Hebei China Fortune are managed by former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini and already boast Mascherano's compatriot Ezequiel Lavezzi and former Inter Milan and Juventus midfielder Hernanes in their squad.

Press Association

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