Javier Mascherano is 5'9" of San Lorenzo-bred footballing dynamite. He doesn't play this game so much as devour it. The tectonic impact of his tackling most often comes at the end of heat-seeking sprints that look unbearably painful for the pitch as he violently digs his cleats in for purchase on every flying step. He plays hard. He tears opposition teams a new anus. Hell, he'll tear his own while he's at it. Literally.
So, when a guy like this comes through your club, he leaves his mark. Ask River Plate fans, Corinthians fans, West Ham fans, Liverpool fans, Barcelona fans, and Argentina fans what they think of the player, and the answer will always be effusively positive. Adoring, even. He plays every second of every match the way any fan likes to think they would given the chance.
His Liverpool career was a fairly short three years, but it included a Champions League final appearance, a close run title tilt, and the pleasure of sharing the field with peak Gerrard, Torres, and Xabi Alonso. For a man who has since played alongside Barcelona's historically bright stars, the Liverpool experience is perhaps less of a big deal than it feels for Liverpool fans, but it was still a fondly remembered portion of Mascherano's career.
Fondly remembered, yes, but based on Mascherano's recent comments to The Independent, fond memories aren't as romantic a thing as might be hoped by Redkind.
Speaking on a potential return to the Premier League to join former boss Pep Guardiola, Mascherano said, "He will not call me, no, no, no. But returning to the Premier League? I don't know. My feeling for Liverpool does not mean I'm tied to them. If in the future a Premier League team was interested in me and I had the chance to go back, you can't say: ‘No, I would only play for one team'. I don't know what I would do."
Always truthful, that Mascherano, and what the player has said here is a purely honest fact of life for a professional athlete. Yes, a player may love a club, have an incredible time there, but players with the career profile of a Gerrard or a Carragher, or indeed of a Messi or Puyol--those are the exceptions that make the rule.
It doesn't change the way Liverpool fans feel for Mascherano, but it does present the terrifying idea of Masche coming back to England to terrorize Philippe Coutinho while wearing the sky blue of Manchester City, carrying on the borderline psychotic footballing instructions being shouted to him from the sideline from one Pep Guardiola. Enough to keep any rival fan awake at night...