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Lionel Messi's Coca-Cola addiction almost cost him Barcelona dream

  • Lionel Messi's addiction to soft drinks almost proved to be detrimental in his hopes of making it as a professional footballer.
  • Manager Pep Guardiola banned Coca-Cola in the Barcelona training ground, much to the dismay of Lionel Messi.
ANALYST
News
Modified 08 May 2020, 22:49 IST

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi's addiction to Coca Cola is well documented

Lionel Messi is the most talented footballers of all time to have graced the game, and in recent years, the Argentine has cemented his status as one of the greats of the game. Having risen through the ranks at Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, Messi burst onto the scene in 2004 under Frank Rijkaard and rapidly rose through the ranks in the years that followed.

However, as a youngster, Lionel Messi's career could have followed a different trajectory if it wasn't for a few crucial interventions from his coaches. Having been diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency at the age of 11, Messi was considerably smaller and weaker than his opponents.

Additionally, Lionel Messi was forced to take human growth hormone (HGE) to aid his growth and fulfil his career as a footballer. To make matters worse, Messi did not look after his body correctly and did not maintain a diet, as he resorted to consuming junk food and fizzy drinks.

Lionel Messi and his Coca-Cola addiction

Lionel Messi hugs manager Pep Guardiola
Lionel Messi hugs manager Pep Guardiola

Coca-Cola, in particular, was Lionel Messi personal favourite at the time and he used to consume the drink so frequently that he was forced to consult a nutritionist. Since then, however, Messi was advised to stay clear of fizzy drinks and look after himself better, after which he adhered to a strict diet plan drafted by his coaches.

In 2017, Lionel Messi admitted in an interview with La Cornisa TV that he ate poorly for years and had to avoid sugary stuff altogether, as they made him sick while playing.

"I ate badly for many years: chocolates, fizzy drinks, and everything. That's what made me throw up during games. Now I look after myself better. I eat fish, meat, salads. Everything is organised and taken care of."

At one point, it is believed that Messi's coca-cola addiction was so bad that Barcelona had to take emergency action and remove the vending machine from their training ground, after strict orders from manager Pep Guardiola.

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It has also been reported that Messi despised the idea of eating a salad, as he would often walk away when it was placed in front of him.

Even for someone so outrageously gifted, Lionel Messi's career could have turned out to be a lot different if he didn't discipline himself as a teenager. Over the years, we have seen several talented footballers who have gone off the boil, after not showing enough professionalism to make it at the top level.

Ronaldinho took Lionel Messi under his wing at Barcelona.
Ronaldinho took Lionel Messi under his wing at Barcelona.

Since making his first-team debut under Rijkaard, Ronaldinho took Lionel Messi under his wing, and the Argentine continued to weave his magic, this time alongside some of the best players in the world.

By the time Guardiola arrived, Messi journey to cement his status as an all-time great was already in motion, as he broke several long-standing goalscoring record under the Spaniard. Barcelona's all-conquering side won every trophy in club football at the time, with Lionel Messi in the forefront of their fearsome attack.

He remains the only player in history to win the Ballon d'Or a staggering six times, but Lionel Messi's career could have ended prematurely when he was just a youth player at Barcelona's La Masia academy.



Published 08 May 2020, 22:49 IST
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