Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has revealed why he left Liverpool back in 2010 to move to the Nou Camp.
The 33-year-old is nearing the end of his time at the Catalan club as his contract runs out in 2019. Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has used Mascherano sparingly this season handing him just seven starts and a few substitute appearances.
“My stage here is ending. It makes sense that after such a long time there’s not much more I can do in this club. I’m not saying it with a heavy heart. I’ve had the best years of my career in this club. I’ll never forget it,” said Mascherano.
“I’m one of those people that thinks that you have to know when is the right time to end a stage. I would like to close mine on the right time but it doesn’t really depend on me.
“I am predisposed to close it on time because when I left Liverpool it wasn’t good for me, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like having the feeling that I could go back to Liverpool and there was still something toxic there. And I don’t want the same thing to happen to me at Barcelona.”
It is believed that the midfielder turned defender will be made available on a free transfer in the summer transfer window. Liverpool are yet to register a concrete interest in signing the player who admits that the departure of Rafael Benitez from Anfield convinced him to leave the Reds.
“It was a stormy summer for me. Rafa Benitez had left Liverpool and there was the possibility of going to Inter with him. We were negotiating but things did not go the way we wanted. I already had the idea of leaving Liverpool,” he added.
“He was the manager who had bet on me when I did not know what to do at West Ham. When he left, I believed that it would not be the same and I needed to take a step forward.
“Negotiations with Inter did not progress and 15 days before the end of the transfer window Barcelona contacted me. I fought for that. It was not the best way to leave.
“I did not like it but it was my chance. A club like this is not going to come looking for you two years in a row. If you say no, they look for someone else. That’s the reality. I fought for that and here I am.”
The Argentine won four La Liga titles and two UEFA Champions League titles among other honours with Barcelona.