Mascherano to leave Barcelona as Hebei move looms

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The Catalans have announced the Argentine will leave the club after seven and a half seasons, with a move to China on the cards

Javier Mascherano will leave Barcelona after seven and a half seasons at Camp Nou, the Catalan club have confirmed.

Argentina international Mascherano is expected to continue his career with a reported €10million switch to Hebei China Fortune ahead of the 2018 Chinese Super League season.

The 33-year-old will be granted an "institutional farewell" by Barca on Wednesday, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the first-team squad to be in attendance.

Mascherano has seen his game time severely restricted since Ernesto Valverde's appointment, making just 12 appearances in all competitions as he sits behind Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen and Samuel Umtiti in the pecking order at centre-back.

With Yerry Mina having arrived from Palmeiras this month, Barca have let the versatile defender depart.

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Mascherano joined Barca from Liverpool in 2010 and made 334 appearances, winning 18 titles during one of the most successful eras in the club's history.

His haul in Spain included four LaLiga wins and a pair of Champions League triumphs, though he did not score his first goal for the club until he was invited to take a penalty in the 7-1 thrashing of Osasuna in April of last year – his 319th outing for the Catalan giants.

Lionel Messi, Phillip Cocu and Dani Alves are the only three foreign players to have made more Barca appearances than Mascherano, who transitioned to centre-back having joined the club as a midfielder.

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