Sunday, 5 July 2009

Mascherano rumour mill misses the facts

Today’s Daily Mail continues the Javier Mascherano rumour mill with a story running under the exploitational headline:

“Mascherano stuns Benitez: Liverpool midfielder pressing for move to Barcelona”

The story by journalist Joe Bernstein claims:
“Liverpool's title plans have been thrown into disarray by a stand off between Javier Mascherano and manager Rafa Benitez.”

It adds that:
“The pair fell out at the end of last season after Benitez rotated the team, leaving Mascherano out of some crucial matches.”

Ahh, the old chestnut "rotation" rears its head once more. However a quick look at the stats reveals the truth. Javier Mascherano did not play in the Champions League quarter final against Chelsea on 8th April because he was suspended. He also did not play in Premier League match against Fulham on April 4th as he had only just arrived back from International duty the previous day. The midfielder had been on an 11-hour flight from Bolivia.

The next match he did not play in was in February.

Mascherano in fact only missed a grand total of 4 matches in all competitions since the end of December 2008.

The story goes on to dig out a one word quote from Mascherano that he gave two weeks ago:
“The 25-year old captain of Argentina is now pressing for a move to La Liga, declaring he is ‘flattered’ by reported interest from Barcelona.”

The story then declares:
“The player’s attempt to force his way out of Anfield has stunned Benitez.”

There are no quotes from Benitez that alludes to him being ‘stunned’

This story has been completely manufactured in order to continue the story that Javier Mascherano wants to leave the club. If any of these stories had any basis in fact and the player did indeed want to leave the club, there are a couple of things that he should bare in mind: He was rescued from the obscurity of West Ham's bench by Rafa and he was also allowed to fulfil his Olympic dream at a crucial stage of last season.

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