Santiago Ascacibar is Javier Mascherano's natural heir for Argentina… according to the man himself
VfB Stuttgart midfielder Santiago Ascacibar has received glowing praise from Argentina’s most-capped player Javier Mascherano, with the former Barcelona man describing the 21-year-old as a “great player” already.
Ascacibar hit the ground running after joining Stuttgart from Estudiantes last summer, featuring 29 times – and winning an average of 10 challenges per game – as the promoted Swabians missed out on Europe by just two points.
Mascherano, who amassed 147 appearances for Argentina before retiring from international football following the Albiceleste’s second-round exit from the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, sees strong parallels between Ascacibar and himself.
Watch: Ascacibar won 22 challenges when Stuttgart lost 2-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 5 of last season
“I’ve always identified with this type of player,” the five-time La Liga champion explained to bundesliga.com. “I really like his style of play. Ascacibar seems to me to be a great player. If he keeps improving he’ll end up being a very important player in European football and also for the Argentina national team.”
Ascacibar will get his first chance to prove Mascherano right about the latter claim in September, having been called up by Lionel Scaloni for Argentina’s friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia. As yet uncapped, the Stuttgart man is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, though.
“I’m still a long way from achieving what [Mascherano] did,” said the midfield battler, who sports a tattoo of Diego Maradona on his leg. “You have to start from the ground floor and work your way up.”
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