Former Liverpool midfielder says broken promises led to his exit

Javier Mascherano swapped Anfield for the Nou Camp in the summer of 2010.

Former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has said he wanted to leave the club in a different way having left for Barcelona in the summer of 2010 under a cloud – something which disappointed him.

The Argentinian said he had several meetings with former manager Roy Hodgson and the then Managing Director Christian Purslow, saying they had made promises to him but failed to keep them.

There had been reports that Mascherano had refused to play for the Reds against Manchester City in order to force his move to the La Liga giants soon after playing in an opening day draw against Arsenal. 

Mascherano told the Times: ‘The people who were there at the time – the manager [Hodgson] and Christian Purslow – have gone now but they know the truth. When I went back to Liverpool for pre-season I had a lot of meetings with them and they were promising a lot of things to me but never kept their word.

‘I did not wake up one day and refuse to play. In the game before City we played against Arsenal and I gave everything because I was wearing the Liverpool shirt. Why would I do that and risk getting injured when I knew that Barcelona were close to signing me and then refuse to play in another game? That doesn’t make any sense.

‘I didn’t want to say anything at the time because of my respect for Liverpool. I did not want to say anything about a club that had been so good for me, so I kept my mouth shut.’

The midfielder has won the Champions League as well as the La Liga title on two occasions during his time at the Nou Camp, and dedicated his side’s European Cup win in 2011 at Wembley to Liverpool fans that day.

He said: ‘I know some Liverpool supporters were disappointed after my exit – they were a little bit sad with me, but this is for them.’

It may sound like a familiar story to Liverpool fans as striker Fernando Torres cited similar reasons for leaving Anfield when he left the club for Chelsea in the following January as Liverpool were going through a turbulent spell off the field whilst trying to produce on the field.

Mascherano was signed by Rafa Benitez in 2007 for a fee of around £18m and made 139 appearances for the club, scoring two goals. He started the Champions League final in 2007 when Liverpool were on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline from AC Milan in Athens, and played a part in the Reds’ title challenge in 2009 which fell four points short.

image: © jamesmoore

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