Javier Mascherano has played alongside Lionel Messi at club level for five years now, yet he does not take for granted what it means to share a locker room with his countryman: “The fact that we have been enjoying Leo’s performances all this time, makes them seem rather normal. But a few years from now it will be different, as surely what has happened to several of Maradona’s teammates,” the Argentinian said in a recent interview.

The former Liverpool player further explained: “Sometimes, due to your involvement in your career, you don’t realize simple details and everything seems natural. However, when someone from Argentina comes to watch the trainings, they’re astounded: ‘Look how [Messi] runs with the ball!’.”

“Messi has evolved his game a lot, he’s fresh physically and he gets along great with Neymar and Luis Suárez. When Leo is in good form that’s a sign of good things. Having Luis is beneficial for him, because it frees him,” El Jefecito added.

Asked about how Barça is now compared to Guardiola’s time, Mascherano said: “We still have some playing concepts from Guardiola’s time, but now we have more options and we have grown in some aspects of the game. I don’t know if this is the best moment of my career. What I can say is that I feel that I understand the game very well and I owe that to Barcelona. Guardiola marked me. Due to his teaching, I grew as a player. I am grateful to him for that. All that I am living now with Barcelona is due to him.”

About the upcoming continental competition, Javier said: “Copa América will be complicated for Argentina, but Martino’s ideas can be seen on the pitch. We’ve grown as a team.”

Talking about his own career, Mascherano confessed that as a child he had not expected to be this successful in football: “I have fulfilled many of my childhood dreams,” he said, and added that he feels “comforted” when people compare him to Diego Pablo Simeone, one of his references.

El Jefecito summed up his career goals: “My intention is to live my dream one day at a time, which is to play in La Liga and in the national team for as long as I can.”

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Source: TyC