Barcelona's Javier Mascherano comments on Claudio Bravo speculation

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Argentina at Chile

Javier Mascherano has enjoyed a trophy-laden two years alongside the Chilean 'keeper but now is facing up to the 'keeper's possible exit.

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Argentina at Chile

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has admitted he would support Claudio Bravo’s potential departure to Manchester City in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

City manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly intent on bringing the Chilean international goalkeeper to the Etihad Stadium after Joe Hart was left out of the club’s Premier League opener against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Catalan has made it clear that he wants his goalkeepers to act as an extra outfield player and start moves from the back a la Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich (below) and Victor Valdes at Barcelona.

Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer celebrates

And Mascherano, who has won two La Liga titles, two Copa Del Rey’s and a Champions League crown in two seasons alongside Bravo, says he would understand the 33-year-old wanting a change of scenery in the latter stages of his career.

"Claudio is a great professional, he is one of the most experienced players in this team," said the Argentina international midfielder, as reported by Sky Sports.

"However, I will understand if he decides to leave if he thinks that is the best decision for his career."

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Argentina at Chile

"All I can say is that Claudio has given us a lot in the past two seasons and I hope he stays here. He is an important part of this team."

The stats appear to back up Guardiola’s assessment that Bravo would far better suit his desired gameplan with Hart’s pass completion rate of 52 per cent last season paling in comparison to the Chilean’s 84 per cent.

Meanwhile, just 31 per cent of Bravo’s passes were long balls compared to the England number one’s 72 per cent. Yet, even in this regard the former demonstrated an accuracy and range that Hart simply cannot match.

52 per cent of Bravo’s long passes found their target. For Hart, that figure drops to 35.

England's Joe Hart

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch