Mascherano says that his final outings for Argentina will be at the World Cup if he is selected for the squad.

Javier Mascherano has announced that he will retire from international football following next summer’s World Cup.

Argentina qualified for Russia 2018 by the skin of their teeth earlier this week after going a goal behind in their crucial clash with Ecuador, before Lionel Messi saved the day.

Defeat would have resulted in Argentina missing out on qualification.

Barcelona star Mascherano, who was a World Cup finalist in 2014, has revealed that he is ending his international career once this campaign is over.

He will play his final games for his country in Russia next summer if he is selected for the squad.

Mascherano celebrates Argentina’s win alongside Messi and the team
Speaking to Sport, Mascherano said: “For a lot of people the story could have finished today, but thanks to god it was not like this.

“If I get to Russia, that will be the end. I know that for sure.”

Argentina have fallen short of glory since Mascherano has been in the team, failing to win a major championship despite competing in five finals.

But failing to qualify for the World Cup would have been their ultimate failure.

Argentina were saved by a Messi hat-trick – and Mascherano has heaped praise on his Barcelona team-mate.

 

Mascherano has hailed Messi’s impact on the Argentina team
Messi ensured that Argentina would be playing at the World Cup 

“Lionel Messi owns this game and when you own the game you have ability to make things happen,” he said.

“I hope we can help him in Russia. We enjoyed him and now we have to help him.

“We have the chance to dream. It’s a World Cup and we can remember how we played in Brazil. We have to prepare in these seven or eight months to arrive in the best form possible, and we’ll try to do it.”