Martino concerned over Lionel Messi’s long-term health
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says ”something is not right” with Lionel Messi after the Argentina forward vomited during an exhibition.
The 26-year-old Messi was doubled over and appeared to be sick during Argentina’s 0-0 tie against Romania on Wednesday.
Messi is on the roster for Saturday’s match at Valladolid. Martino thought Messi had the flu before a 3-1 loss to Real Sociedad nearly two weeks ago.
”This is something he’s had for quite some time. I’m not a specialist and so far we haven’t figured out what is causing this, but this doesn’t affect his play,” Martino said Friday. ”But something is not right.”
Martino said Messi has gone to see a specialist, but that proved inconclusive.
"It’s no big deal; it’s happened to me before", Messi said in a statement. "It happens to me all the time: during the matches, while training, when I’m at home… I don’t know why it happens, but it happens.
"Sometimes I accelerate very fast and the change in air intake that involves causes me to heave. I felt completely fine at the end of the match," the Argentine added.
Midfielder Andres Iniesta, fullback Jordi Alba and defender Carles Puyol will not play Saturday. Iniesta will miss the match for personal reasons. Martino wants to rest Alba before Wednesday’s Champions League home match against Manchester City. Center back Gerard Pique returns from injury against Valladolid.
Puyol has announced his intention to leave his boyhood club at the end of the season.
Barcelona trails Spanish league leader Real Madrid by one point in the standings.