Javier Mascherano signed a new contract with Barcelona on Saturday, committing his future to the Catalan club until June 2018.
However, there was speculation that the Argentina international could be sold. With Luis Enrique taking charge of the former Spanish champions, the 30-year-old was said to be on the list of players who would be moved on.
Italian club Napoli were reported to be strong contenders for the former West Ham United midfielder’s signature, but there were whispers that he could return to the Premier League.
It was reported that Mascherano could be open to going back to Liverpool, the club he graced with success between 2007 and 2010. It was at Anfield that the versatile Argentine, who can play both as a centre-back and as a midfielder, made his name after a rather strange spell at West Ham.
However, the former Corinthians star has decided to continue his career at Barcelona and has now given an insight perhaps why he was never going to leave Spain in the first place.
‘Barcelona is easier; the culture, the language', Mascherano told The Guardian. ‘It’s a different life in many ways. My daughters are older, it’s all just different’.
Mascherano, who will probably never play in England again even if the opportunity comes knocking, also expressed his regret at departing Liverpool in the summer of 2010 under controversial circumstances.
The 30-year-old left the Merseyside outfit claiming that club officials had broken promises, and there were reports that he had actually taken a pay-cut to join the team then coached by Pep Guardiola.
‘I was sorry about the way I left, the circumstances surrounding my departure’, he said. ‘I wish it had played out differently, but football sometimes deals you those hands. I faced a choice, and I chose thinking about my career, about the way I wanted to work. I wish it had been different, though’.
Was it a bad move for Mascherano? Probably not. In four years at Barcelona, he has won La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League once each among other trophies. From a career perspective, he made the right decision.
Mascherano seems settled in Spain where he does not have to speak English to get by. The prospect of him playing in the Premier League again looks rather dim.