Javier Mascherano poses during the ceremony in the Sala París. / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB

On Thursday, the FC Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano received the 2015 Fair Play Award organised by the Barça Players Group. Mascherano beat out Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pique and Rakitic who had all been named finalists by popular vote. A jury determined the winner.

The event was held in the Sala París at Camp Nou, and was attended the Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu and the president of the Barça Players Group, Ramon Alfonseda. "We emphasised values such as leadership, both on and off the field, respect for the Club, for opponents and for teammates, and his commitment to the first team shirt, to FC Barcelona supporters and to society," said Alfonseda.

Josep Maria Bartomeu recalled the difficulty of signing Mascherano in 2010, yet also the desire Mascherano had to join Barça: "Let's remember that he made a very important economic effort to come here and we value that," Bartomeu said. "He is one of the most important players we have, he adapts to the needs of the team."

Mascherano was grateful to receive an award won by Bojan Krkic in 2010, by Andrés Iniesta in 2011, by Xavi Hernández in 2012 and 2013, and by Carles Puyol in 2014.

"It is an honour to win this award at such a demanding Club. I hope to spend many more years at FC Barcelona," Mascherano said.