Barcelona couldn't have gotten off to a much better start to the season, beating Levante 7-0 with six of those goals coming in the first half. Lionel Messi scored two of those first-half goals, including one from the penalty spot, but in an unusual twist, he was slowed down by the bodily functions of a mere mortal before the end of the match.
When the two sides emerged from the dressing rooms for the second half, a nauseous Leo Messi doubled over, spitting and dry heaving on the pitch. He did try to power through and keep playing, but he was eventually subbed off for Andres Iniesta in the 71st minute. A rare occurrence for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.
After the match, new Barcelona manager Tata Martino explained the decision to give Messi a rest (via Reuters):
"I had already spoken to Messi about it. The season is very long with many games and he is intelligent and understands it is necessary," Martino said. In an evenly-balanced match no one would take him off...but it is important to look after him and safeguard his fitness."
And make sure he doesn't vomit on himself on the first day of the season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi