Argentina international Javier Mascherano has revealed that it was a thankless task of playing in central defence during his seven-and-a-half year spell with Barcelona. The 33-year-old ended his long-term association with the Catalan giants to join Chinese outfit Hebei Fortune last month.
In an exclusive interview with Gerard Pique for The Players' Tribune, Mascherano admitted that he contemplated leaving Barcelona on several occasions previously as he wanted to enjoy more playing time in the central midfield role.
He said: "Let's just say my time at Barcelona is one of contrast in that regard. Because the best years of my career, where I could enjoy myself the most [were at Barcelona], I felt complete as a footballer, but I didn't get the chance to play as a midfielder. But [maybe] that is as if your glass is half empty. Those were the cards which were dealt. But when I had doubts about leaving before, that was why. No one knows better than you [Pique] how thankless a task it is to be a Barca defender. One mistake and you pay dearly."