After seven-and-a-half years of faithful service, Javier Mascherano is to leave Barcelona in the coming days and join Hebei Fortune over in the Chinese Super League.
Mascherano’s arrival at Barca coicided with the start of an unbridled era of success, with the Argentinian defender playing his part in winning 18 various trophies for the Catalan giants.
As vital as his defensive nous has been over the years, goals were never quite El Jefecito’s strong suit. In fact, he managed a cumulative total of just one solitary goal in over 330 appearances.
Having sent a smattering of long-rangers clattering into the advertising hoardings and more than a few headers sailing over the crossbar, Masch finally broke his duck on 26th April, 2017 – a mere 2,431 days into his Barca career – when he was allowed to break rank and take a penalty in the 67th minute of a 7-1 thrashing of Osasuna at the Camp Nou, much to the delight of his teammates.
So cathartic. The pent-up angst being released as that ball ripped and thrustled into the roof of the net was (and still is) palpable.
Frankly, when Lionel Messi is scored 75 goals a season for fun, it matters little what contribution everybody else is making.