Masch closing in on new deal

Argentina star eyeing long Barca stay

Javier Mascherano: Has revealed he is close to agreeing a contract extension with Barcelona

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has revealed he is close to agreeing an extension to his contract with the Catalan giants.

The 28-year-old joined Barca in 2010 in a €24 million deal from Premier League side Liverpool, helping them lift the UEFA Champions League and Primera Liga titles in his first season in Spain.

The Argentina international's current deal expires in 2014 but he admits he is keen to extend his stay with the four-time European champions.

"[The new deal] is on the right track and I hope it will be closed shortly. I am happy, I feel valued and I want to continue for many years," he told Mundo Deportivo.

"Signing for Barca was the best decision of my life. I have won people's confidence and now I want to maintain it."

Position

Mascherano also revealed that he now prefers playing in the centre of defence, rather than the holding midfield position we saw him play in while in England.

The former West Ham and Corinthians man has also tipped team-mate Lionel Messi to win the prestigious Balon d'Or at the end of the year ahead of fellow Barca stars Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

"In this club I feel more comfortable playing as a central defender than a midfielder but I will play where I am asked," he added.

"As regards the Balon d'Or, it is a personal decision, a question of preferences, but I would vote for Messi followed by Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

"For me titles count but they are up against a kid that has scored more than 80 goals this season."