Javier Mascherano is ready to unite the Americas.
The Argentina and FC Barcelona star likes what he's seen in the Copa America Centenario, and according to a report from CentroDeportivo.com,thinks the time is right for CONMEBOL and CONCACAF to merge, and combine their respective continental tournaments into a single championship for the Western Hemisphere.
“I think it’s a great idea,'' Mascherano said following Argentina's victory over Panama in the group stage of the current Copa America tournament. "In my personal opinion, I believe that the two should unify once and for all to create a championship like the Euro.''
The Copa America is the championship of CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, and the Gold Cup is the championship of CONCACAF, the federation of North and Central America and the Caribbean. Both were contested in 2015.
The Copa America Centenario is a special edition of the Copa America, meant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first South American championship, and is being jointly run by the two federations featuring all 10 South American teams and six teams from CONCACAF.
US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is on record saying he'd love a combined championship, and Mascherano agrees.
"It’s a personal opinion I have, but I think the time is coming,'' Mascherano said. "Soccer has changed, the world has changed. CONCACAF has all the tools to compete with CONMEBOL, that’s for sure. It would be good to have a qualifying phase for a unified Copa America, and also for the World Cup qualifiers, just like in Europe."