Champions League Final: Mascherano wary of old friend Tevez
Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano will line up against a friend turned rival in the Champions League final on Saturday as compatriot Carlos Tevez attempts to fire Juventus to their first European Cup in 19 years.Updated: Jun 03, 2015 12:49 IST
Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano will line up against a friend turned rival in the Champions League final on Saturday as compatriot Carlos Tevez attempts to fire Juventus to their first European Cup in 19 years.
Mascherano and Tevez moved to Europe together to join English side West Ham United from Corinthians in 2006.
After an inauspicious start at Upton Park, both went onto enjoy successful careers in England as Mascherano joined Liverpool before moving to Barcelona in 2010, whilst Tevez won Premier League titles with Manchester United and Manchester City.
However, it is at Juventus where Tevez has shown his best form in European football.
The 31-year-old has scored 29 goals this season to guide Juventus to the brink of their first ever treble of Serie A, Italian Cup and Champions League.
"Carlos's career is there for everyone to see. It is formidable," said Mascherano.
"He is one of the best players I have ever shared a pitch with and has an incredible winning mentality,"
"He has left a mark at all the teams he has played with. Obviously, if you are faced with playing him you have to be very careful,"
"He is a player that likes to play these type of games and clearly is one of the most important players in the Juventus team." said Mascherano.
At the other end of the field the clash between the Spanish and Italian champions brings Luis Suarez face-to-face with old foes Patrice Evra and Giorgio Chiellini.
Barcelona's players Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba attend a training session during the media Barcelona Open Day in Spain ahead of the Champions League final against Juventus. (REUTERS)
Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra in 2011 during their time at Liverpool and Manchester United respectively.
The fiery Uruguayan then received a four-month ban for biting Chiellini at last summer's World Cup.
However, Mascherano believes Suarez has shown this season he has the right temperament to concentrate solely on winning the Champions League for the first time.
"For Luis that is already in the past," added Mascherano.
"It is a special game for him because it is his first Champions League final and these games are special, but not because of the players he will face,"
"Luis is of an age now and has shown that we don't need to say anything. He is responsible for his actions." said Mascherano.
Mascherano has already tasted victory in a Champions League final during his first season at Barca, but also lost one whilst at Liverpool in 2007.
However, he insisted that even winning the treble would not wipe away the pain of losing the World Cup final to Germany in extra time last July despite his heroics throughout the tournament.
"The worst feeling is to lose a World Cup final,"
"Apart from that the feeling of winning any title is very gratifying because it is the reward of all the work done during the year,"
"The Champions League has that feeling but also an added prestige. As a footballer that prestige is also something that we play for." Mascherano said.