Lionel Messi to Miss Barcelona's Match Against Malaga Due to 'Personal Reasons'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 04:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks on prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on March 4, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona have confirmed Lionel Messi will miss the team's match with Malaga on Saturday due to "personal reasons" amid reports he has become a father for the third time. 

The Blaugrana posted the following message on Twitter on Saturday morning:

According to Alfredo Martinez of Onda Cero (h/t AS), Messi's wife Antonella recently gave birth to the couple's third child. The 30-year-old has two sons already, Thiago and Mateo.

Messi has started all but one of Barcelona's La Liga games this season, with the exception a substitute appearance against Espanyol.

The forward has 24 goals and 12 assists and has helped the team establish an eight-point lead at the summit of the La Liga table.

Barcelona still have to complete the job, though, and they remain on course for three trophies. A week ago they dealt a big blow to Atletico Madrid's hopes of mounting a domestic challenge, as Messi's stunning free-kick saw his side to a 1-0 win.

As we can see, he's been in tremendous form lately:

On Wednesday, Barcelona will take on Chelsea in the second leg of the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League with the scores level at 1-1. Manager Ernesto Valverde will hope to have Messi back and available for that key encounter.

Barcelona should be able to cope without Messi at La Rosaleda, though, as Malaga have been enduring a torrid season. They are rooted to the bottom of the table and are eight points adrift of safety.

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