Former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has Arsenal to thank for saving his Barcelona career when the Gunners last visited the Nou Camp in 2011. The north London Cup were going out 4-3, but Nicklas Bentner had a chance to level the scores and take the Gunners into the quarter-finals.
The north London club did not have a single shot on target the entire game and had come to Barcelona leading the tie 2-1 after Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin had given them the lead at the Emirates. The Dutchman was sent off in the fixture after receiving a second yellow for kicking the ball and the Gunners were under the cosh from a barrage of pressure put forth by the hosts.
However, with moments left to go, Bendtner was put through on goal by Jack Wilshere and the Danish scorer was on his own against Victor Valdes. He was going to pull the trigger, when Mascherano made a last ditch tackle and saved the tie for the Catalans, an event which he believes saved his Barcelona career.
"That tackle marked a before and after. Honestly after five, six months I thought it was unlikely I'd be here long: my characteristics seemed to go against everything Barcelona stood for. That moment marked me. If Bendtner had controlled the ball and gone the other way, he'd have got away from me and… uffff!… I don't know what would've happened. But it happened the way it happened and we ended up winning that Champions League. Things worked out well," the former Liverpool player said, as quoted by the Guardian.
The 31-year-old is open to a move back to the Premier League to a club which is not Liverpool. The midfielder has been a key player for the Reds over the years but insists that he does not have any obligations towards the Anfield based club for his future.
"My feelings for Liverpool don't mean I'm tied to them. I have a lot of affection for them and always will have, but if in the future a Premier League team gave me a chance, you can't say: 'No, I'd only play for one team,'" he added. "We're professionals, this is our living. Whatever happens, my feelings for Liverpool won't change."