Barcelona star Javier Mascherano lifts the lid on Liverpool exit
Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano speaks about his contentious Liverpool exit in 2010
Javier Mascherano has lifted the lid on his contentious move to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010.
The Argentina international completed a switch to the then-Champions League holders in a €24m (£19.6m) deal from the Reds after spending four-and-a-half seasons at Anfield.
They were promising a lot of thing to me but never kept their word
Mascherano’s move was unpopular amongst Liverpool fans with the 29-year-old a key player for the Merseyside club, and the midfielder finally shed light on the transfer.
“I didn’t want to say anything at the time because of my respect for Liverpool,” he revealed in The Times.
“Maybe that was a mistake because it allowed other people to say bad things about me. But I do not regret it.”
He added: “Liverpool is a special club and it does not deserve to be treated badly.
“The people who were there at the time – the manager and Christian Purslow – have now gone but they know the truth.
“When I went back to Liverpool for pre-season I had a lot of meetings with them and they were promising a lot of thing to me but never kept their word.”
Mascherano was widely reported to have refused to play in what would have been his final game against Manchester City before completing a move to Barcelona.
And the former West Ham United defensive midfielder explained the circumstances leading up to his drawn-out transfer move.
“I did not wake up one day and refuse to play. In the game before [Manchester] City we played against Arsenal and I gave everything because I was wearing the Liverpool shirt.
“Why would I do that and risk getting injured when I knew that Barcelona were close to signing me and then refuse to play in another game? That doesn’t make any sense.
“We had been talking about completing the transfer for 20 days because the club also wanted to make it happen, but then they started to make things difficult for me.”
I needed to leave the club in a good way and that wasn’t allowed to happen
Mascherano famously dedicated his Champions League triumph with Barcelona, who beat Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 final, to the Liverpool supporters.
And the Argentine spoke of his continued affection for the 18-time English champions.
“The people treated me really well and I would never want to let them down,” Mascherano added. “I wanted to leave in another way, but they didn’t give me the chance to.
“That is the truth. It left me with a bad feeling. My time at the club was over and I needed to move on, but I also needed to leave the club in a good way and that wasn’t allowed to happen.”