Masche & Xabi: two Reds meet again
Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso played together at Liverpool from 2007 to 2009. They, and Steven Gerrard, formed one of the best midfields in the world, but on Monday they’ll be playing against each other at the Camp Nou.
Barça v Madrid will be a star-studded affair, with quality duels wherever you look. The Argentinian
and Basque stars Mascherano and Xabi Alonso will star in one of these, with the added interest that
the duo helped write some of the finest pages in the Liverpool history books.
Alonso first, Mascherano second
Xabi Alonso went to Anfield in 2004, after leaving his lifelong club Real Sociedad. Rafa
Benítez had always fancied the player, and his intuition proved right. In his first season, he
helped take the team to its fifth European Cup, beating Milan in that incredible final.
In 2007, the Reds were joined by Javier Mascherano, who wasn’t getting games at West
Ham. Benítez felt he deserved more and was right again, for the South American and Xabi Alonso
proved the ideal support for Steven Gerrard, and Liverpool once again made it to the Champions
League final, although this time, Milan got their revenge.
Historic game with Madrid
They never won the Premier League, but Mascherano and Xabi Alonso excelled in the
European stage. In the 2008/09, the English club enjoyed one of its greatest nights ever, when they
humiliated Real Madrid 4-0 at Anfield. ‘Masche’ played the whole game, while Xavi came
off after 60 minutes.
That was Xabi Alonso’s last season at Liverpool. In 2009 he left
for Real Madrid, and Mascherano followed him to La Liga a year later, but to Barça. They meet on
Monday at the Camp Nou and the Argentinian is looking forward to the reencounter. “I shared
three year with him and it was an honour. He’s a great player and person, and a very good
friend of mine”, he said. They have played each other before, but at international level.