Mascherano: My hero growing up was Makelele

The midfielder has revealed his admiration for the ex-Chelsea star, while naming Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola, Rafael Benitez and Tito Vilanova as his favourite coaches

Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has named Claude Makelele as his footballing hero.

The midfielder, who has often helped out in defence since arriving at Camp Nou from Liverpool in 2010, believes the former Chelsea and Real Madrid player is amongst the best he has seen play in the holding role.

"My hero always was Makelele," he told Barcelona’s official website. "When I was young I always tried to copy him because, as a holding midfielder, he was one of the biggest players in that position.

"I always watched him and tried to learn from him. Also I had the chance to play against him when I was at Liverpool and he was at Chelsea. As a holding midfielder, he was the best I have seen."

When asked which was the best coach he has played under, the Argentina international was unable to separate his favourite four.

The 28-year-old said: "[Marcelo] Bielsa, [Pep] Guardiola, [Rafael] Benitez and now [Tito] Vilanova. With all of them I have learned a lot, and also they gave me something for the future."