Mascherano completes Barcelona move
Argentinian international midfielder Javier Mascherano completed his £17.25m transfer to Spanish champions Barcelona from English Premier League giants Liverpool on Monday.
The 26-year-old - who captained Argentina at the FIFA World Cup™ finals where they were humbled 4-0 in the quarter-finals by Germany - signed a four-year contract after passing a five-hour medical, according to the buying club's website.
Barcelona's first-team doctor Ricard Pruna spoke to Barcelona TV about Mascherano's level of fitness. "It was an exhaustive medical that lasted around five hours," he explained. "He is in excellent condition and is physically great."
Dr Pruna said that fans should not be concerned about Mascherano missing many matches through injury. "His cardiovascular level is perfect and he is a player who has had very few injuries," he said. "In the last five years he has suffered one injury that has left him with problems."
Mascherano has been keen to leave Anfield for several months having almost joined the Spanish champions 12 months ago only for former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez to eventually price the player out of a move.
However, with Mascherano keen to leave for personal reasons - he constantly complained his family had not settled in England - Liverpool came to an agreement with him that if they received an acceptable bid they would allow him to leave.
Liverpool rejected an initial bid of £16m from Barcelona but finally accepted that they would let him leave when the Spanish club came back with an improved offer last Friday. The player, bought for £18m from West Ham over three years ago, had angered present Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson when he refused to play for the club in their defeat to Manchester City last Monday.