"My time in the national team finishes in Russian Federation, I won't go any further", Mascherano told Argentine TV station TyC Sports. It's a World Cup and we can remember how we played in Brazil. "I will try to fight for my place and to be ready when I'm called upon", he told ESPN.
He said: "When you have a better player ahead of you in the pecking order, you accept it and try to turn the situation around - that's all you can do. I'm not the kind of person to get annoyed about it".
"But I've not yet spoken with anyone".
These words come shortly after he announced his official and definitive retirement from his national duty with Argentine: the 33-year-old will stop wearing the blue and white jersey after the 2018 Russia World Cup.
Messi returns to his club after a memorable night in Ecuador when he bagged a hat-trick and secured Argentina's passage to the World Cup in Russian Federation next summer meaning they won't even need a play-off to make sure of their inclusion at the tournament.
Earlier this month Mascherano became only the fourth non-Spanish player to reach 200 appearances for Barcelona when he started the 3-0 win over Las Palmas.
Simeone's Atletico Madrid take on Messi's Barcelona on Saturday evening in the first meeting between the two at Wanda Metropolitano.
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