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End of a cycle for Barca, says Mascherano

18 May 2014 03:22

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano claims it is the end of an era after the Spanish giants surrendered their La Liga crown on Saturday.

Barca could only draw 1-1 at home to Atletico Madrid, which handed the La Liga title to the capital club for the first time in 18 years.

Saturday's result not only meant Barca missed the chance to retain the La Liga trophy, it also spelt the end of manager Gerardo Martino after just one season in charge.

While Barca triumphed over Atletico in the Supercopa final in August, the club failed to add to their collection of silverware, with a runners-up performance in the Copa del Rey and elimination from the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Barca also recorded their highest number of defeats (five) in a La Liga campaign since they won the league in 2008-09 during Pep Guardiola's first season in charge and Mascherano says it is now time for change.

"It's the end of a cycle. We apologise to everyone. The manager, the fans, everyone," Mascherano told reporters after the match.

"Losing in front of our fans hurts a lot. We've been through the ringer this season.

"We could've won and left everything behind. Now there will be decisions, and changes, of course. This season wasn't the best, far from it.

"We'll have to wait for next season to see what decisions the club makes."

Mascherano added: "We will have to rebuild something new, with the players on this team who still have a lot left to give.

"I don't like to talk about something that I'm a part of but an unrepeatable cycle is over.

"Neither this club, nor any other club, will be able to experience something like we have in the past five years. It was spectacular. We don't want it to end, but this is the law of life."

Barca will start to rebuild without star duo Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol, who announced their departures earlier in the year, while there are doubts surrounding Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas.

And the Catalan club could also be without Mascherano next season, with the Argentina international refusing to guarantee his future following reports linking him with a return to the Premier League.

"I don't know what'll happen. This changes a lot," he said.

"The day they don't want me anymore, I'll go because I'm grateful for everything this club has given me."

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