Father: Messi vomiting not a problem
Lionel Messi's father says his son's increasing tendency to vomit before or during games is not anything to be worried about, while new reports of a Spanish police investigation into the family's tax affairs and rumours Barcelona could sell the attacker this summer are also not of concern.
TV cameras showed Messi, 26, retching and receiving a tablet from the bench during Saturday's 2-0 World Cup warmup win against Slovenia.
The images recalled previous incidents during Argentina's 0-0 friendly draw with Romania in March, at a World Cup qualifier at altitude in Bolivian capital La Paz in March 2013, and in a Supercopa game against Real Madrid in August 2011.
Former Barca coach Gerardo Martino has spoken about his concern over the situation, but Messi himself has regularly downplayed any problem, while Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella also did so after Saturday's warmup game in La Plata.
Jorge Messi told AS that the retching could be caused by pressure -- something which is unlikely to ease as his son leads Argentina during the upcoming World Cup -- but claimed it was not something to pay serious attention to.
"This subject has been around for years now," he said. "The necessary studies were done at Barcelona. All the doctors say there is no need to be concerned. It does not just happen to him, but to other great athletes in other sports too. It is a bit about the stress, or a little stomach problem, but there is nothing else. There is no need to give it too much attention, he must take precautions and nothing else."
The Messi family's build-up to the World Cup has also been disrupted by further reports in the Madrid press that the Spanish police are still investigating the "Messi & Friends" exhibition games played during recent summers for potential tax fraud.
Last December, Messi's management company denied an El Mundo story that Messi Snr would be called to testify in court regarding the use of such games to launder drug money.
And the former factory employee said he has found it "strange" that similarly unsettling reports had arisen again just before his son faced such a big test in Brazil.
"It is very strange that this comes out in every moment just to call attention," Messi Snr said. "It has nothing to do with the truth, everything that is being said is make-believe and lies. I am very relaxed. It is coming from the papers in Madrid, above all El Pais and El Mundo, a very right-wing paper."
Other reports in the Madrid press continue to claim that some senior Barca figures would like to cash in on the Argentina international this summer, with the player's confusing statement released on social media just hours after signing a new contract in May helping fuel the speculation.
Messi Snr clarified that the statement -- which suggested his son would leave if he did not feel wanted at the Camp Nou -- had been aimed at skeptical Blaugrana fans, not at the club's directors.
"[Lionel] said that because he felt that the fans believed that Leo did not need to be there," he said. "He had no problem, it had nothing to do with the board."