Barcelona followed up their Clasico triumph with a devastating 7-1 win over Osasuna on Wednesday evening and while the Camp Nou paid tribute to Lionel Messi for adding another two to his staggering tally of 500, Javier Mascherano stole the show with his first goal in seven years at the club.
The combative, no-nonsense enforcer, or Jefecito as he is known, smashed in Barca’s sixth from the penalty spot after the demands of supporters and teammates and while it ended a run of 318 games in a Barcelona shirt without a goal for Mascherano, it was also the 100th league goal of the season for Luis Enrique’s side and the 500th in all competitions under Lucho.
The 32-year-old’s career has been built on tough-tackling and leadership rather than goals but that hasn’t prevented Mascherano scoring four times in his club career with another three coming in the colours of Argentina.
At international level, Mascherano is prolific in comparison and his last came fairly recently against Trinidad & Tobago in 2014, but for his last club goal, you need to cast your mind all the way back to Liverpool’s UEFA Cup victory against Unirea Urziceni in February 2010.
A major factor in Mascherano’s Barcelona drought has been his reinvention as a central defender rather than the midfielder that he began life as and remains for Argentina.