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Javier Mascherano linked with emotional homecoming with Barcelona opportunities now limited

Argentinian has not played for Barca in over a month and could finish his career at Buenos Aires-based club

Javier Mascherano has been a trusty servant – but his time at Barcelona is nearing an end.

The Barca defender has not played for a month, although boss Ernesto Valverde says he is not thinking about selling the Argentina international.


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Javier Mascherano is a target for former club River Plate

EPA
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Javier Mascherano is a target for former club River Plate

But Tribuna claims that River Plate manager Enzo Francescoli and club president Rodolfo D’Onofrio have been in touch with Mascherano to try to bring him back to his boyhood club.

But there could be a stumbling block, with Barca keen to get at least £7m if they are to sell.

The report claims that the Argentinian club may only be able to stretch to around £2.5m, with Chinese outfit Hebei Fortune also keen.

Mascherano is likely to fall further down the Nou Camp pecking order with the arrival of Colombian centre-back Yerry Mina in January.

Mascherano spent two seasons in the River Plate team as a youngster

AFP - Getty
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Mascherano spent two seasons in the River Plate team as a youngster

Mascherano is on 141 Argentina caps and counting

AFP
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Mascherano is on 141 Argentina caps and counting

But earlier this week Valverde hinted that the player could still have a future with the Catalan giants.

He said: “For the time being, Mascherano is one of our players and when he’s played, he’s played well.

“He is committed to the club on and off the field and for the moment we don’t have to think about anything else.”

Mascherano joined Beunos Aires-based River at the age of 15 and came through the ranks to spend two seasons in the first team.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverdo has hinted that Mascherano could stay

AFP
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Barca boss Ernesto Valverdo has hinted that Mascherano could stay

Brazilian side Corinithians then snared him, before he soon joined West Ham in a controversial third-party move in 2006.

He played just seven games before Liverpool snapped him up. Barcelona bagged him for around £20m in 2010.

He has since netted four Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.

Mascherano has won 141 caps for Argentina and is just two behind Javier Zanetti’s record, which he is set to break in the lead up to Russia 2018.

Mascherano has not played for Barcelona in almost a month

AFP
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Mascherano has not played for Barcelona in almost a month

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