He is the soccer player with the most presence in history with the light blue and white jersey. Only in the Major can he be beaten by Lionel Messi.
Javier Mascherano is the player who wore the blue and white the most matches in the National Team. From his beginnings as a youth until his final retirement after the World Cup in Russia, played a record 206 games counting all categories. It will be difficult for someone to match it by adding their matches in the Under 17, Under 20, Under 21, Under 23 and the Major. Maybe Lionel Messi next year will surpass him in the latter, but it will be another story.
At just 16 years old, he made his debut in the Sub 17 on March 2, 2001, in the South American of Peru, in the 1-1 against the local team. Since then and until the 2008 Olympic Games, he completed 59 games (3 goals) in the Argentine youth.
It was in these minor categories that he was able to celebrate titles: South American Sub 20 in Uruguay 2003, Pre-Olympic 2004 in Chile and the gold medals in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
In detail, Mascherano played 12 matches (one goal) with the Under 17, 22 matches (one goal) with the Under 20, 5 matches (one goal) with the Under 21 and 20 matches with the Under 23.
In his career he has another particular fact: he is one of the five players who made his debut first in the Senior National Team before in his club (Marcelo Trobbiani, Jorge Cecchi, Alexander Débole Y Emanuel Mammana, the other four).
He was summoned by Marcelo Bielsa for the friendly against Uruguay on July 16, 2003, when the Único de La Plata stadium was inaugurated. The game ended 2-2 and the kid who had not yet made his debut in River entered played as a starter. Eighteen days later, he played his first match at the Millionaire.
Since then, he became a symbol of the selected team, leader on the field, captain without tape. With 147 appearances, he is the player with the most games in the Major: 54 friendlies, 48 in Playoffs, 26 in the Copa América and 19 in the World Cup, the last in Russia 2018.
With the 6 games he played in 2018, he beat Javier Zanetti, who totaled 142 games. This Tuesday, against Peru, Messi will match Pupi and he will be six games away from beating his former Barcelona teammate.
In his extensive journey through the blue and white, the phrase he said to Chiquito Sergio Romero before the penalty shootout against the Netherlands, on July 9, 2014, in the semifinal of the World Cup in Brazil: “Today you become a hero”.
Also, the pride of having belonged to a top generation of Argentine players who fought at the top of world football during the last two decades. And, of course, the pain of four lost finals, three of the Copa América, and one World Cup.