Diego Simeone hails Javier Mascherano influence

Javier Mascherano of Argentina reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between Argentina and Belgium at Estadio Nacional on July 5, 2014
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Former Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone praises Javier Mascherano for the leadership qualities that he has shown so far at the World Cup.

Former Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone has praised Javier Mascherano for his leadership qualities ahead of the World Cup final.

Mascherano, 30, has played a key role in the centre of the pitch for the South Americans so far at the tournament, helping them to reach their first final in 24 years.

While Lionel Messi is the official captain for the team, Simeone believes that Mascherano has provided an important presence for them during the tournament.

"He may not be the captain, but leaders don't need an armband to mark their leadership and Mascherano has shown that wherever he has played – that human strength and the kind of player he is," Simeone told Goal.com.

Mascherano has scored three goals in 104 appearances for the Argentine national team following his debut back in 2003.

Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during the Group F football match between Argentina and Iran at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil on June 21, 2014
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