Javier Mascherano has announced he will retire from international duty with Argentina after next year’s World Cup.
The Barcelona defender was part of the Argentina team that booked their place in Russia after they came from behind to beat Ecuador 3-1.
Lionel Messi scored a crucial hat-trick in that game and Mascherano wants to help his team-mate for club and country lift the trophy in Moscow before retiring from international duty.
“For a lot of people the story could have finished, but thanks to God it was not like this,” Mascherano told Spanish newspaper Sport.
“If I get to Russia that will be the end, I know that for sure.
“Lionel Messi owns this game and when you own the game you have the ability to make things happen.
“I hope we can help him in Russia, we enjoyed him and now we have to help him.
“We have the chance to dream. It’s a World Cup and we can remember how we played in Brazil (when they reached the final in 2014 before losing to Germany).
“We have to prepare in these seven or eight months to arrive in the best form possible, and we’ll try to do it.”
Mascherano made his senior debut for Argentina in 2003 before he had even played for boyhood club River Plate and has won 139 caps for his country.
The defender, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, played in the Premier League with West Ham and Liverpool before joining Barcelona in 2010.
During his time at the Camp Nou, Mascherano won the La Liga title four times and the Champions League in 2011 and 2015.