Mascherano: I could've joined Napoli

Javier Mascherano Argentina

Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has stated that he will end his career in Spain but admitted that he could have signed for Napoli this summer.

Napoli boss Rafa Benitez seemed desperate to lure former Liverpool man Javier Mascherano at the start of the summer, but the Italian side had to admit defeat.

Liverpool were also briefly linked with bringing Mascherano back when it emerged that the Argentine international wasn't happy with the defensive role he'd had to play for the Catalan club.

But in the end, new boss Luis Enrique provided the assurances necessary to keep Mascherano happy at the Camp Nou.

He has now signed a bumper deal until 2018, when he will be 34, which contains a vast buyout clause of around £80 million.

"There was the possibility of coming to Napoli," Mascherano told Italian newspaper Il Mattino.

"I have an excellent relationship with Benitez but he knows that I could join him and that's the way things went.

"I will finish my career in Spain and I am very happy."

Mascherano was on the wrong end of a terrible tackle from teammate Dani Alves in training last week but he was fortunate to escape without injury.

Alves may have been angry after media suggestions that his days at Barcelona were numbered due to the signature of Brazilian right-back Douglas.

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