Barcelona fans are desperate to see Javier Mascherano score a goal.
So much so that a petition has been started to relieve Lionel Messi of penalties duties and allow the defender to net his first goal for the club.
Mascherano joined Barcelona in 2010 but his goal tally stands at nought despite making 264 appearances for the Catalan giants.
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So, the fans have taken it upon themselves to get Mascherano off the mark sooner rather than later.
A petition has been launched on Change.org asking Messi to let his compatriot take the next spot-kick.
It has been signed over 3,000 times and a statement online reads: “We think Mascherano doesn’t have sufficient recognition as a Barcelona star.
“He has brought so much to the team it seems unfair he’s not recognised as he deserves - in football everything’s measured in goals so for this we want him to score a goal for Barcelona.
“The most simple way is to let him take a penalty, and we ask Leo Messi to do this.”
Messi is Barcelona’s regular penalty-taker and it’s hard to imagine he will stand in Mascherano’s way. The forward passed up the chance to score his 300th league goal for the club on Sunday, instead passing to Luis Suarez in a cheeky version of Johan Cruyff’s famous penalty.
Despite his immense goalscoring record, Messi isn’t a greedy player and it’s his team-first mentality that separates him from Cristiano Ronaldo, who repeatedly shows his distress when teammates do not pass to him.
It’s highly unlikely Mascherano’s barren run will cause him sleepless nights, though. The former West Ham man has won 13 major trophies in Spain, including La Liga three times, the Champions League twice and the Copa del Rey twice.
If all goes to plan, the feisty Argentine will add one more of each to his collection later this year.
Barcelona face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final in May while a Champions League last-16 clash with Arsenal awaits this month. In the league, Luis Enrique’s team have a three-point lead over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona are the only team to win the treble (European Cup, domestic league and cup) twice, and few would bet against them doing it for a third time.
With Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar running the show, Barcelona have produced flawless football this season and are currently on a 29-game unbeaten streak. Against Celta Vigo on Sunday concerns were raised when the teams were level at half-time, but Barcelona scored five goals in the second half to quickly erase any doubts about this team’s potential.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see when Mascherano will take a penalty, provided the petition reaches Messi and the forward adheres to it. You’d think Enrique wouldn’t entrust the defender to take a penalty in a Champions League final with the score at 0-0, but then again this is a team whose confidence cannot reach any higher.
Will Messi let Mascherano take a penalty? Have your say in the comments section below!
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