07 May 2012

Mascherano: "With Guardiola there’s a before and after in my career”

The player understands Guardiola’s reasons for standing down and thanks him for everything he has taught him.

Mascherano also spoke about Messi’s goal scoring record of 50 league goals – 72 in all competitions – so far this season.

He also highlights the work done behind the scenes by Tito Vilanova: "He’s brought a lot to the team”.

Speaking after Saturday’s derby win against Espanyol, Javier Mascherano told Barça TV that the players had experienced some emotional moments during the farewell tributes to Guardiola. In an interview for Barça TV’s ‘El Marcador', he summed up the players’ feelings towards the outgoing manager. “Guardiola has taught me many things. He’s one of the coaches who has most influenced me. He changed my position and since then there’s been a before and after in my career”. Since joining Barça, Mascherano has been moved back into central defence by Guardiola and has enjoyed an extended run in the team.

Mascherano expressed his understanding for Guardiola’s decision, describing it as a personal choice that belonged to the manager alone, but criticised some of the speculation in the sporting press over the season: “It’s older than the sun itself. There’s no business in one team winning it all. It annoys some people that it’s always the same one”.

Mascherano emphasised that the team will not abandon their style of football and thanked the fans for their support even in defeat: “People are demanding but not stupid. Even without winning, the fans recognise everything that has been done. This year is the best example”.

Speaking on behalf of the whole squad he also gave his full support to the next manager, Tito Vilanova: “Tito has been Pep’s shadow. He’s done a really good job as assistant coach to the extent that we noticed his absence when he was ill. He’s done a formidable job. Now, it’s his chance”.

When asked about Messi’s sparkling performance against Espanyol, Mascherano insisted: “There are no words to describe him”. He also admitted that he had spoken to his fellow countryman about his record-breaking achievements and underlined his modesty: “I asked Messi if he was aware of what he was achieving. Luckily, he isn’t! We will always remember this Barça as Messi’s and Guardiola’s”.

Javier Mascherano’s excellent season was rewarded by the fans chanting his name during Saturday’s match: “I’m very grateful to the fans. It’s a source of pride that they chanted my name". (via FCBarcelona.com)