Masch happy to be involved

Argentine realistic over chances of starting at Wembley

Mascherano: Has enjoyed his first season at Barcelona and hopes to finish it on a high

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Javier Mascherano has insisted he would not be disappointed if he is left out of the starting XI for Saturday's UEFA Champions League final as he feels 'honoured' just to be part of the Barcelona squad.

Mascherano arrived from Liverpool in the summer and took a while to win over the Barca faithful, but the Argentina international has impressed of late with some excellent performances in both defence and midfield.

The 26-year-old had nevertheless looked set to miss out on a starting berth at Wembley, as the entire Barca squad is now fit for the showpiece against Manchester United.

However, Guardiola is reportedly unwilling to start with both Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal - who have both spent lengthy spells on the sidelines - against an intense and fast United side.

Mascherano is ready for whatever Guardiola decides, saying: "It wouldn't be a disappointment not to play - not at all.

"With the great team-mates and great players there are in this team, I am honoured to be part it.

"I'm sure our coach will pick the best XI we have and I will try, as I have done throughout the season, to offer myself to the team and help my team-mates, be it on the pitch or off it."

Special

Mascherano says meeting old foes United will not make the match more special, but concedes Sir Alex Ferguson's side are one of the world's best teams.

"It's a Champions League final - it's special anyway," he said.

"Playing against United doesn't make it more special for me, but I played against them lots of times and in general terms they are a very strong team.

"Their defence has two centre-backs, Vidic and Ferdinand, that offer many guarantees and have huge quality.

"In general they are a great team and the statistics show that: in the last four years they have got to three Champions League finals and won three leagues. They are one of the best teams in the world today."

Mascherano is wary of the threat presented by the likes of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, but feels Barca have the quality and character to come out on top.

He explained: "You know that when you play a final, especially against a team like United, that you're playing against some of the best strikers in the world. Rooney and Chicharito have enormous quality.

"They are not just a team that play well, but they have a great fighting spirit as well.

"But we also have that and I think that, in the final, with all of the great players we have, that's a special plus."

Analysis

On the whole, Mascherano believes his first season in Spain has been a success, but says Saturday's result could change that - for better or for worse.

"One usually makes an analysis once the season is over and the season still isn't over for us," he said.

"Obviously I'm very happy with how things have gone but one result can change the way you view a season and especially a result like the one on Saturday.

"Obviously I'm happy, but like any human being, I want more."

Who will win the UEFA Champions League?

  • Barcelona
  • Manchester United