As Leo Messi himself says, it may well be nothing. But when something odd keeps on happening, it’s normal to look for a reason.
At the moment at least there doesn’t seem to be any explanation for the mysterious attacks of vomiting that the Barcelona and Argentina forward has been experiencing on the field of play.
Doctors have carried out all kinds of tests, especially on his stomach, to check for gastric reflux disease, allergies and olfactory problems, which could be related to stress, all to no avail.
The latest attack occurred on Wednesday during Argentina’s friendly match against Romania. At the start of the game, Messi approached the bench and told team coach Alejandro Sabella that he was retching. He asked for some water, but moments later – just seven minutes into the match – TV images captured him doubled up, covering his mouth with his hand, then vomiting. He cleaned himself with his sleeve and after that showed no other signs of weakness for the rest of the night, which ended with his name on the score sheet.
Afterwards the player played the incident down. “It’s something that always happens to me, which has also already happened to me several times with my club, so it’s nothing.”
A few weeks ago the 26-year-old was also seen vomiting during Barcelona’s King’s Cup match against Real Sociedad. Before that he had done so in a game between Barça and Levante in August last year and a few months before that in a match for Argentina against Bolivia, played at altitude in La Paz. Sources in the Barcelona squad also recall him vomiting in pre-season matches and that it wasn’t strange to see him throwing up in training sessions for no apparent reason.
“Against Real Sociedad, I thought it was the product of a bout of flu,” said Barcelona coach Tata Martino in his press conference ahead of his side’s match against Valladolid on Saturday. “But it is something he has had for quite a while. I’m not a gastroenterologist and the key still has not been found. But you don’t need to give it much import because it isn’t impeding him at all.”
Nevertheless, it does not seem to be a coincidence and it has rung alarm bells. Just what is up with Messi?