Why Messi needed special treatment?
As a child, Messi terrified all Rosario. Coaches of the children’s teams Newells Old Boys even stopped counting the goals Leo had scored in different tournaments. But everyone was sure there had been more than 500. Messi’s team defeated opponents with no mercy, scoring 10-12 goals per game easily. Along with it some rivals even used to come up with a rule: as soon as Newells scored the sixth goal, they went to the locker room before the end of a match.
Messi had a special motivation to never stop and tackle everyone around. The coach Carlos Marconi gave him an alfajor for every goal during some time. It’s a chocolate cookie with milk and caramel inside. If Messi scored 4 goals, he received 4 alfajores.
In order to improve motivation of the your footballer to play on the second floor, his coach promised him to double the reward (alfajores) for each header. “Leo outplayed all defense and goalkeeper probably the next match, then raised the ball into the air and sent a header to the empty goal. He looked back at me and showed with his fingers: give two, “- recalled Marconi.
When Messi turned 9, the Newells Old Boys coaches started suspecting something was wrong with him. All his teammates grew, but Messi remained the shortest – 1.27 m. His dad’s friend even used to put an extra pillow in his car so Leo could see what was going on outside.
The doctor who reassured Leo
In such a way, 9-year-old Messi was examined and got a diagnose growth hormone deficiency (GHD). It was improbably important for maturing of an organism. Such a disease is quite rare, on average for one child out of 20,000, according to endocrinologist Diego Schwarzstein. He had been working with Messi in Rosario for two and a half years.
In such cases, a growth hormone treatment is always prescribed. It means daily injections into the arms and legs within 3-6 years, depending on the characteristics and body reaction. Such injections are prohibited in professional sports. If a hormone is injected to a healthy person, it helps to increase a muscle mass.
“I was the smallest on the field, the smallest at school, the smallest in the yard. So every day I was given an injection in the leg. Day after day, week after week – and so for more than three years, “- recalls Messi.
During the meetings Leo told the doctor Schwarzstein almost everything. How many goals he scored in each match, what tournaments Newells Old Boys had, what he wants to achieve. And one day the doctor replied: “I do not know if you will be better than Maradona, but you will definitely be higher.”
All was aligned for him. Messi height is 1 m 69 cm now. Maradona is two cm shorter.