Former Barcelona, Liverpool and Argentina star Javier Mascherano has announced his retirement.
Mascherano, 36, revealed his decision on Sunday, calling it quits after 17 years as a professional.
A 147-time Argentina international – the most in the country’s history – Mascherano returned to his homeland by signing with Estudiantes de La Plata in January.
After 11 appearances in all competitions for the Argentine side, including Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Argentinos Juniors, Mascherano said it was time to hang up his boots.
“I want to announce that today I am retiring from football professionally,” he said.
“I want to thank this club that gave me the opportunity to finish my career in Argentina.”
Mascherano added: “I have lived my profession 100 per cent, I gave the maximum I could.
“Today, I find that for some time it’s hard for me and I don’t want to disrespect Estudiantes, who trusted me to return to Argentina, or my colleagues, or this profession.”
After beginning his career with River Plate, Mascherano played for Corinthians and West Ham before joining Liverpool in 2007.
A fearless defensive midfielder who turned into a centre-back, Mascherano enjoyed most of his success at Camp Nou, winning five LaLiga titles and the Champions League twice among numerous other trophies after joining Barca in 2010.
He helped Argentina reach the 2014 World Cup final, which they lost to Germany in extra time, while finishing with four Copa America runner-up medals and two Olympic golds.
After two years with Hebei China Fortune, Mascherano headed back to Argentina with Estudiantes, where he finished his career.
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