Javier Mascherano says his tackle on Nicklas Bendtner in 2011 was a turning point in his career

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Nicklas ‘Lord’ Bendtner.

The Danish striker was ridiculed during his time at Arsenal for his lack of any sort of footballing ability.

But there is one player who is very thankful for the fact Bendtner wasn't very good at football - Javier Mascherano.

Mascherano had dedicated his successful career at Barcelona to a moment involving the current Wolfsburg striker.

The Argentine has now been at the Nou Camp for six seasons since arriving from Liverpool in 2010, but believes an incident with the Danish striker during the Champions League clash against Arsenal in his first season is responsible for his career.

The tackle

Mascherano made a last-ditch tackle on Bendtner in the 90th minute to prevent him scoring a crucial away goal as the Catalan club led 4-3 on aggregate.

The 31-year-old admitted that he had struggled at the club before that game against Arsenal, but that tackle changed everything.

“That tackle marked a before and after,” Mascherano told The Guardian.

“After five, six months I thought it was unlikely I’d be here long: my characteristics seemed to go against everything Barcelona stood for.

“I actually played that game in midfield — it was [Sergio] Busquets who played at centre-back.

“But from then on, I played at centre-back: that tackle changed everything. I found my position and I’ve been there all these years.”

Mascherano added: “That moment marked me. If Bendtner had controlled the ball and gone the other way, he’d have got away from me and 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."

Glory at Barca

Since that match, Mascherano has gone on to win numerous trophies for the Spanish club whilst playing an important role at the heart of the defence.

Three league titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions League titles - and surely more to add this season - represent six successful seasons at the club.

And there's only one man responsible for all of Mascherano's success. Not Lionel Messi, not Pep Guardiola but Bendtner.

Premier League return

Mascherano went on to say that he’d love to return to the Premier League when he eventually leaves Barcelona and insists it wouldn’t bother him playing for a rival of his former club, Liverpool.

“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 said.

“We’re professionals, this is our living. Whatever happens, my feelings for Liverpool won’t change.”

Just remember, Mascherano owes his Barcelona career to Bendtner and his lack of finishing ability back in 2011.

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