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Argentina's Mascherano announces retirement

Kazan: Argentina's veteran defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano announced his retirement from international football on Saturday after his team's 3-4 loss to France in the World Cup Round-of-16.

"The whole story is over," said Mascherano, who is Argentina's most capped player in history with 146 appearances, reports Xinhua news agency.

"From now on I'll be just another fan of the Argentina team. It's over. The dream has finished."

Regarding the match in which teenager Kylian Mbpappe's brace helped France overcome register a come-from-behind victory, the 34-year-old Hebei China Fortune player said: "We gave everything to the end. It was a crazy game where we did not start well before we recovered and turned it around. But their equalizer hurt us a lot."

The 34-year-old made 145 appearances for Argentina, including their dramatic 4-3 defeat by France in the last 16 on Saturday.

Mascherano played every minute of Argentina's games at this year's World Cup - his fourth successive tournament.

The double Olympic champion made his senior debut in 2003 and began his career at Argentine club River Plate.

He played for West Ham from 2006 to 2007, leaving to join Liverpool where he featured in the 2007 Champions League final defeat by AC Milan.

Mascherano played for Barcelona from 2010 to this January, winning the Champions League twice and being part of squads that won La Liga on five occasions.

He is currently with Chinese club Hebei China Fortune.

In his time with his country, Mascherano failed to win a major tournament but helped Argentina reach the final of the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas.

Argentina reserve midfielder Lucas Biglia also announced his retirement during the postmatch news conference, telling reporters: "I am going to step aside. I've realized there's no place for me any longer." Biglia made 57 appearances for Argentina, scoring one goal, since making his debut in a 2011 friendly against Portugal.

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