Former Barcelona, Liverpool and Argentina star Javier Mascherano has announced retirement from football after a glittering 17-year career across South America and Europe. The defensive midfielder started his professional career with Argentine giants River Plate in 2003 and spent a year in Brazil with Corinthians before making the move to the Premier League, Goal.com reported.

Mascherano had a brief spell at West Ham and then three years at Liverpool before he moved to Barcelona, where he enjoyed the most successful spell of his career. After winning five La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns among a host of other trophies in his eight years at Camp Nou, he was lured to Hebei China Fortune.

Mascherano has been a regular for the Argentine Primera Division outfit Estudiantes and was contracted to the club until June 2021, but he has decided to hang up his boots now. “It is time to finish my career because of things that happened to me in recent months, that on a personal level and after having thought about it for all this time, the most correct thing is to finish today,” Goal.com quoted Mascherano as saying.

“I have lived my profession 100 per cent, I gave the best I could and today I find that it has been difficult for me for a while and I do not want to disrespect Estudiantes, who trusted me to return to Argentina, or my colleagues, or this profession. It does not have to do with the club or with a result, but with feelings that one is feeling over recent times, which make the illusion that one had of being a footballer fade,” he added.