Is this the real reason why Lionel Messi vomits during matches?

The Rio Report

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It has become one of the great footballing mysteries in recent years, but finally we could now have a satisfactory answer.

Arguably the world's greatest footballer, Lionel Messi, frequently vomits on the pitch during a match. Not just big matches, but almost any one.

The player himself has spoken of how it affects him and given some pretty unconvincing explanations, and he has been far from alone in sharing his logic.

After Messi threw up less than 10 minutes into a friendly match between Argentina and Romania in March, his then coach at Barcelona, Gerardo Martino, said "something is not right".

He added that it was not affecting Messi’s play, but still - it was not something to just be completely ignored.

Against Slovenia on Saturday, Messi was clearly seen dry-heaving and taking on a tablet from the bench  just before he scored Argentina's second goal.

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Famously, the forward scored just after throwing up in the Spanish Super Cup final against Real Madrid in 2011.

Curiously, Barcelona's medical staff and Argentina's team doctors have searched hard for a clear and logical cause, but like Messi they cannot find one.

The player himself simply concedes that it is 'just something that happens' during training, matches and even when relaxing at home.

"I don’t know what it is. But I had a thousand exams,” Messi told the Argentinian broadcaster TyC Sports earlier this year.

"I start to feel nauseous to the point where I almost vomit, and then it goes away.”

But now Messi's current Argentina coach, Alejandro Sabella has confidently attempted to explain what the issue is behind his star player's vomiting.

"Nerves. I reckon that in these moments there is anxiety more than anything,” Sabella told the AP, before Argentina open up their World Cup campaign against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday.

"It’s difficult to remain calm.” Is this any more logical than to say that it is not possible to explain? At least Sabella is confident about what he thinks is the problem.

The mystery remains officially unsolved, but Sabella still could have the right explanation pinpointed with his theory of nerves and anxiety.

So does it matter, to be sick so regularly, in and out of competition? Well, only Messi can really be the judge of that.

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