Lionel Messi Plays Down Sickness After Vomiting During Romania vs. Argentina

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2014

Argentina's Lionel Messi wipes his mouth after appearing to vomit on the pitch during an international friendly soccer game against Romania on the National Arena stadium in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo) ROMANIA OUT
Uncredited/Associated Press

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has played down a bout of sickness he suffered during his country's goalless draw against Romania on Wednesday. 

The Barcelona forward appeared to vomit during the match but commented after the game that it was nothing unusual.

The Mail Online quotes the player saying: "My vomiting has always happened. It happened a few times with Barca. It's nothing to me."

The moment was captured on social media: 

Messi has not been in the electric form of previous seasons, but this does not reflect in his personal numbers.

He has scored 15 times in his 19 La Liga matches this year, per Squawka, as he looks to drive Barcelona to yet another domestic title. 

The news that Messi's on-pitch illness is not serious will please the Barcelona management and supporters. 

The club have a busy programme in March, including their second-leg match in the Champions League against Manchester City and the Clasico away to their fierce rivals Real Madrid, which will help shape where the Spanish championship goes this season, per ESPN FC.

Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press

Despite his incredible talents, Messi has often struggled to motivate his country to greater things, and Wednesday's result and incident shows the difficulties he faces.

With the World Cup just around the corner, Messi's sickness could well be a sign of nerves as he attempts to be the figurehead that Argentina need.  

Freelance sports writer Rich Laverty commented on Twitter of the astonishment that Argentina could not beat a team of Romania's standing:

The expectations on a player at international level can be vastly different to those faced at their club, and Messi is still to convince when he pulls on an Argentina jersey.

Parallels can be drawn with some of England's top stars. Like Messi, the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard have failed to reproduce their stunning club form of many seasons on the international stage. 

Pele said in 2012 that a player cannot be the greatest ever until he wins a World Cup. He said of the Argentina player, per BBC Sport: "When Messi's scored 1,283 goals like me, when he's won three World Cups, we'll talk about it."

He added: "He's a great player for Barcelona, but when he plays for Argentina he doesn't have the same success."

These kinds of words will likely play on Messi's mind. He strives each day to be the best, yet his record at World Cup finals is nothing outstanding, as shown by FIFA's stats.

He has only managed to net once in eight matches at the tournament, showing the huge difference in his finishing when not in a Barcelona shirt. 

The pressure laid upon players like Messi to win a World Cup is huge and it is physically evident how this weight lies heavy on the shoulders of even the greatest players in world football.