Lionel Messi has been taken out of the Barcelona squad to face Malaga on Saturday, with the club citing ‘personal reasons’ for the decision.
As seen in the tweet below, the club confirmed the news early on Saturday, with Yerry Mina being drafted in to fill the matchday squad.
[LAST MINUTE] Change to the squad. Messi is out for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 10, 2018
It’s a blow for the Catalan giants, with the 30-year-old in stunning form this season as expected, scoring 32 goals and providing 16 assists in 41 appearances in all competitions.
Barcelona have an eight-point lead at the top of the La Liga table after defeating Atletico Madrid last weekend, and so they’ll be desperate to maintain that healthy gap en route to winning another league title.
While the club didn’t reveal the exact reason as to why Messi has been pulled out, it has been speculated by various media outlets in Spain, and as also seen in the tweet below from journalist Alfredo Martinez, that Messi and wife Antonella Roccuzzo have welcomed their third child to the world.
We’ll wait on official confirmation of that, but if so, it’s hoped that mother and child are safe, and it’s completely understandable for Messi to be with his family this weekend.
Along with his two boys, the Argentine icon could be putting together quite the five-a-side team!
Messi y Antonella han sido padres esta noche
— Alfredo Martínez (@Alfremartinezz) March 10, 2018