When one hears of Lionel Messi, many things pop up into the mind. Pictures of a talismanic multi-talented footballer are drawn. But structurally there are imprints of a short bearded fellow with tattooed legs.
Messi’s height of 1.7M is not a bad one either- but it is a height that was achieved through hard work, sweat, determination and huge investment.
Reports have always surfaced revealing how the Argentine suffered a stunted growth as a child. Such reports have tied his club Barcelona with playing a pivotal role that ensured that the fifth time Balon d’Or winner achieved his height, which is almost average.
However, UK-based media Daily Star has revealed how Barcelona star has opened up about the subject for the first time, explaining his childhood ordeals and what it took him to be where he is.
The report indicates that at a very tender age while he was playing at the Argentine club known Newell’s Old Boys, Messi was diagnosed with a health problem-growth hormone deficiency.
His parents had acquired two year insurance policy which fortunately could cater for the treatment of the growth problem.
But this would come at an exorbitant price of £700 every month. His club Newell promised to chip in to help but such never materialized. Another unfulfilled promise would later come from River Plate club.
Self-inject as a child
After beginning the treatment at a tender age, Messi mastered the art and took it upon himself past the age of 8, taking care not to skip the important routine.
"I injected my legs once every night. I started at 12 years old. It was not something that left an impression on me," said Messi, as revealed by the Daily Star.
The nostalgic Argentine added:
“At first my parents gave me the injections from when I was eight years old until I learnt.”
"It was a small needle. It did not hurt, it was something routine for me that I had to do and I did it with normality."
He and his family later relocated to Spain, Barcelona just when he clocked 13. As he was eager to build his career in soccer, the Argentine signed for Bracelona as a teenager and became part of the Catalan ‘Baby Dream Team’ churned out of the La Masia Academy. The Catalan club also funded his growth treatment as he developed in the academy.
This is where he met other Spanish stars such as Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique among many others who have become his friends. He and his father Jorge Messi settled in Spain as the rest of the family went back to Argentina.