La Liga leaders Barcelona said Lionel Messi was to miss their fixture at Malaga yestserday due to personal reasons, with Spanish media reports saying it is due to the birth of his third son.
“A last-minute change to the FC Barcelona squad. Leo Messi has withdrawn for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place,” the statement on the club’s official Web site said.
It is the first time this season that Messi, La Liga’s top scorer with 24 goals, has not been included in the matchday squad for a league game. He has started 26 of Barca’s 27 games, while he came off the bench against Espanyol on Feb. 4.
Messi’s management team could not immediately be reached for comment.
Spanish newspaper Marca said Messi’s third son, named Ciro, was born yesterday. The Argentine and his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, announced in October last year that they were expecting a third child.
Barca lead the Liga standings with 69 points, enjoying an eight-point lead over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid after beating the Madrid side 1-0 on Sunday last week with a free-kick goal by Messi.
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