Barcelona coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has played down the frequent bouts of vomiting that Lionel Messi has suffered on the pitch - something which occurred most recently during Argentina’s international friendly against Romania on Wednesday.
Speaking on Friday ahead of the Blaugrana’s Liga BBVA match against Real Valladolid (Saturday, 16:00 CET), Martino also reflected on Carles Puyol’s announcement that he will leave the club at the end of the season.
Messi vomiting: “It’s something that’s not normal, but it doesn’t affect his performance. It happens to him regularly. He has even gone to see specialists at certain times; they haven’t solved the problem, but it isn’t a cause for concern. It doesn’t affect him at all in terms of doing his job.”
Puyol: “I think he’s a footballer who is irreplaceable. I’m probably not the best-placed person to comment on this, because I’ve only worked with him for seven or eight months, but that’s enough to say what I said. He's the type of player that a club has only once every so often. Life goes on at Barcelona, and the club will look for a replacement, but he’ll always be in everyone’s heads because he leaves an indelible mark.”
Does Puyol have coaching ambitions? “No, because he told me. I thought the same as you [that he has the potential to be a coach], but he said no.”
Signings: “I haven’t spoken at all about next season. The only new development is that Puyol has confirmed he’s leaving. The club needs a central defender. As for other players, I haven’t spoken at all. I’ll say again that [Arturo] Vidal is an excellent player, but I haven’t spoken to the club about him or any other footballer.”
Match against Valladolid: “The match concerns me because of what the rival means: they’re fighting at the bottom of the table and have only lost two games at home. It’s true that there are extenuating circumstances; it has been a short week and the players [who were on international duty in midweek] arrived yesterday and today. We’ve only spoken about the match today, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re excuses. We have to focus on putting in a good match and, above all, winning.”