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Mascherano hits out at 'lies' about Barcelona move

Javier Mascherano finally completed his move to Barcelona last night and hit back at what he called "lies" surrounding his departure from Liverpool. The midfielder was labelled "selfish" by Liverpool's manager amid suggestions he went on strike to force through his move to Spain.

But the 26-year-old midfielder said: "Roy Hodgson knows the truth. This is a happy moment for me so now is not the time to say it, but a lot of lies have been spoken about me and I will respond to them."

Mascherano confirmed that he had been close to moving to Barcelona 12 months ago and flatly denied there had ever been an offer from Internazionale.

The player, who spent three years at Liverpool, said: "Last year Liverpool would not let me leave... there was no way they would sell me. They had Xabi Alonso and me, and they would only let Xabi leave. I was disappointed not to be able to sign last season. When the best club in the world calls you, then it is something that you want to happen."

Denying the Inter interest, he added: "I have signed for the only club who really wanted me. In no moment did I ever think that Inter was a possibility. Rafa [Benitez] valued me and perhaps that is why people started saying that I could go there."

Mascherano sent a message to Liverpool supporters, saying: "I hope they get back into the Champions League as soon as possible. I still have a lot of affection for the fans of the club."