Ballon d’Or contender Javier Mascherano has been named Barcelona’s player of the 2013-14 season.
Lionel Messi had won three of the previous four editions of the ‘Memorial Aldo Rovira’ but he was pipped to the prize by his fellow Argentina international, who demonstrated impressive consistency at the heart of the Blaugrana defence during a turbulent campaign that ended without the Catalans winning a major honour.
“I thank all of you who voted for me to receive this prize,” Mascherano is quoted as saying by the club’s official website.
“We’ll try to continue doing things as well as we have until now, with the same dedication while trying to stay faithful to what a club like this demands, which is a lot.”
The award is named after Aldo Rovira, a Barca club member who tragically died in an accident in 2009. The recipient of the accolade is decided by a jury of prominent figures from Barca and the Catalan media.
“I was part of the jury that chose Javier Mascherano,” Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu explained. “And I have to tell you, Javier, that there was quite some debate at first.
“But when your name came up, the response was unanimous and so this a very well deserved prize.
“It’s an honour for Barca to have a player like you.”
The versatile Mascherano, who is also deployed in midfield by Barca, arrived at Camp Nou from Liverpool in 2010.
The 30-year-old was linked with a move away from Catalunya at the end of last season but he signed a new contract on June 7 that binds him to the Blaugrana until 2018.
Could this be a blow to Messi’s assured taking of the Ballon d’Or this year… let’s wait and see. We will keep you in the know till then I’m out!