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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Barcelona confirm Mascherano exit as Spanish media report he is going to China

Catalan giants say 33-year-old Argentine will be given official farewell on Wednesday

Barcelona did not specify where Javier Mascherano, right, was going. Quique Garcia / EPA
Barcelona did not specify where Javier Mascherano, right, was going. Quique Garcia / EPA

Barcelona confirmed on Tuesday that defender Javier Mascherano will leave the club this month, with Spanish media reporting the Argentine is heading to Hebei China Fortune.

The Catalan giants said the 33-year-old player would be given an official farewell on Wednesday and say goodbye to fans at Thursday's Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Espanyol.

"Javier Mascherano is leaving FC Barcelona after seven and a half seasons," the club said on their website.

The five-time European champions did not specify where Mascherano was going, but Barcelona sports paper El Mundo Deportivo reported that he will "this Friday become part of the squad of his new club Hebei China Fortune who are doing their pre-season in Marbella [in southern Spain]".

In December, Sport, another Catalan daily, said that Hebei had reached a deal to sign the Argentina international from Barca for €10 million (Dh45m), conditional on the Spanish club plugging the gap, which they did by signing Colombian centre-back Yerry Mina.

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Mascherano arrived from Liverpool in August 2010 and won four Primera Liga titles, four Copas del Rey, two Uefa Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups and only scored a single goal from 334 appearances, when his teammates pushed him to take a penalty during a 7-1 rout of Osasuna in April 2017.

Only two non-Spaniards, Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, have played more games for Barcelona.