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Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Mascherano plays down captaincy

Javier Mascherano
Mascherano has won back-to-back Olympic gold medals with Argentina

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has attempted to distance himself from the captaincy of Argentina.

New national team coach Diego Maradona is a keen admirer and has previously stated his desire to see the 24-year-old lead his country.

"Before Maradona arrived we had a captain, Javier Zanetti, so I don't want to talk about this," the former West Ham man told BBC Sport.

"He is a legend, so it is good to have him as a manager."

Mascherano looks certain to be named Argentina captain in Maradona's first game in charge against Scotland on 19 November.

In the past Argentina's new national coach has described his compatriot as a "monster".

Maradona even said in a news conference after taking the over the reins from Alfio Basile: "[Mascherano is] the Argentinian player who is closest to the idea I have about the Argentinian shirt - sweat for it, sacrifice for it, being a professional, being close to the team-mate."

For now though, Mascherano is keen to focus on club matters and he believes Liverpool are heading in the right direction, despite recent setbacks against Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.

"The team is strong this season and is playing very well.

"We need to improve a lot of things but we are [heading] in the right way and we need to keep going."

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see also
Argentina stars set for Glasgow
05 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Mascherano free to join Liverpool
20 Feb 07 |  Liverpool
Maradona named as Argentina coach
04 Nov 08 |  Internationals

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