Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has denied he has reached an agreement in principle to join Juventus during the summer transfer window but refused to confirm if he will continue at the Nou Camp next season. Nevertheless, the former Liverpool midfielder suggested that reports claiming he is disappointed with his treatment at the club are true.
The 31-year-old has been a crucial player for the Spanish giants since his arrival at the club from Liverpool in the summer of 2010, helping them to win four La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns and two Champions Leagues.
However, his future at the Nou Camp has been under scrutiny in recent transfer windows since he revealed two years ago that he considered moving to Napoli to be reunited with his former Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez.
The speculation has increased since Sport reported earlier this week that the Argentinian had finally decided to end his career at Barcelona to join Juventus. The report added that Mascherano had already agreed a deal in principle to move to the Serie A giants although admitting the deal was not going to be easy to be completed as the Catalan club are not likely to negotiate his departure at any price.
Mascherano has failed to clarify the situation after admitting that his future at Barcelona is uncertain, but said news about his agreement to join Juventus are just rumours.
"I don't know when the end [at Barça] is. I always analyse situations. I think that to leave a club like Barça, you have to weigh up a lot of things. But the day will arrive when it ends, I don't know if it will be now, in one year or three years," the Barcelona star said to TyC Sports. "But obviously [the news about my move to Juventus] is just a rumour. I am at Barcelona and I have always said I am really grateful to the club. What will happen in the future, I can't say, but I don't like to cling on to anything."
Reports in Spain in recent days have claimed that Mascherano's decision to leave Barcelona is motivated by the lack of support given by the club in his tax troubles with the Spanish authorities and his position as a centre-back, as he would like to return to the midfield where he excelled at Liverpool.
Mascherano said: "In a career like mine, you don't only make decisions based on the sporting side of things. There are people in the club who know the opinion I have about what I have had to experience in the last year, there's public knowledge of all the problems I have had on a personal level.
"The opinion I have on this matter is known by the board, the manager, the sporting director... everyone is clear and knows [what I think]. I can't be denying rumours all the time, I would go mad.
"I am not talking about a departure, either. I am grateful to the clubs who have given me an opportunity. Barça have helped me be recognised on a worldwide level and I have won many titles.
Mascherano admits that he decided to swap Liverpool for Barcelona in 2010 to play under then manager Pep Guardiola. He has since enjoyed a fruitful time but admits he still misses the chance to play in the middle of the field – after recently he admitted that he can't enjoy playing for La Liga giants due to the high pressure at the club.
"When I decided to change clubs it was because there was the chance to go to the best club that there was in Europe, with a manager that everyone spoke about in glowing terms," he said. "There is a dark side, the best years of my career have not been spent in the position I wanted to play, those that know me know, to achieve things, you have to leave other things to one side."