Football: Javier Mascherano to call time on Argentina career after Russia 2018

Argentina's midfielder Javier Mascherano before the 2018 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Paraguay at Mario Kempes stadium in Cordoba on Oct 11, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS) - Argentina's Javier Mascherano will retire from international football after next year's World Cup Finals in Russia, the defender said on Thursday (Oct 12).

"My end point is Russia, there's nothing after that," Mascherano told Argentina broadcaster TyC Sports.

Argentina beat Ecuador 3-1 on Tuesday to clinch a place in Russia in a must-win match for the underperforming side.

The two-time champion reached the final in Brazil three years ago, losing to Germany in extra-time, while they also lost in the 2015 and 2016 Copas America finals.

However, they struggled in the qualifiers and needed a hat-trick from Lionel Messi to get them to Russia.

The 33-year old Barcelona stalwart, who sometimes plays in midfield, said the opportunity to win a major title for his country was one of his last remaining playing ambitions.

"I don't have that many things in my life I still want to do," he said.

"Playing in a World Cup and trying to get back to the final is one of them."

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