March 10, 2018 / 11:59 AM / 14 days ago

Soccer: Messi misses Malaga game following birth of son

BARCELONA (Reuters) - La Liga leaders Barcelona allowed Lionel Messi to miss their fixture at Malaga on Saturday following the birth of his third son.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - March 4, 2018 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Albert Gea

“A last minute change to the FC Barcelona squad. Leo Messi has withdrawn for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place,” said the statement on the club’s official website (

Messi later added on his Instagram account: “Welcome Ciro! Thanks to God everything went perfectly. His mother and he are doing really well. We are very happy.”

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.

Barca lead the Liga standings on 69 points, enjoying an eight-point lead over nearest challengers Atletico

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Pritha Sarkar

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