Masch reveals Olympic dream
Reds midfielder puts country before club
By Rob Parrish. Last Updated: 31/05/08 12:13pm
Mascherano: Olympic dream
Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has told Rafa Benitez he is desperate to represent Argentina in the Olympic Games this summer.
Mascherano helped his country win gold in Athens four years ago and wants to become the first player from his country to defend the title.
With the Beijing football tournament running from 8th-24th August, that would see Mascherano miss a key period of pre-season and the start of the new Premier League season.
The Reds are already certain to be without Lucas Leiva and Sebastian Leto, but Benitez had hoped that Mascherano would stay on Merseyside.
But the former West Ham player has admitted that he will put his country first and is now on a collision course with his boss.
Mascherano told The Sun: "It's important for any athlete to defend the gold medal.
"I might be the only person from my country ever to do it and I'll go down in history.
"I owe Rafa a lot in my career and I'm very appreciative of him but I want to go to Beijing because nothing counts for me more than helping my nation.
"He knows I leave my life on the pitch every time I play for Liverpool."