Javier Mascherano has spoken of the pain he had to endure to help Argentina reach the World Cup final, revealing that he "tore his anus" while making the heroic match-saving tackle on Arjen Robben in the final minute of the semi-final victory over the Netherlands.
Describing the perfectly-timed tackle on the flying Dutchman, Mascherano said: "I thought I had slipped, I thought I wouldn’t make it, but I tore my anus on that move, the pain...it was terrible.
"I threw myself into it. I could have been sent off. It could have been a penalty but anyone could have done that, I had the luck to get there."
Argentina then went on to win the semi-final in Sao Paulo on penalties after the game ended 0-0 after extra-time.
Mascherano had earlier shaken off a nasty head injury to continue the game, and says that the all the pain was worth it, as playing in a World Cup final will be the pinnacle of his career.
"I cried at the end because I have spent a lot of time waiting for this moment," the 30-year-old said.
"This is my third World Cup and maybe my last one.
"It's a delight to be in the final, a delight that lifts your soul.
"It's something you can't explain, it's something I never imagined would happen.
"And I know the people at home will be happy because two generations could not see Argentina in the final of a World Cup, they can see us there now so we are happy for that."
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