Football: Lionel Messi misses Malaga game for 'personal reasons', supposedly birth of third son

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts during a Spanish Primera Division soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, north eastern Spain, on March 4, 2018.
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts during a Spanish Primera Division soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, north eastern Spain, on March 4, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Spanish LaLiga leaders Barcelona said Lionel Messi will miss their fixture at Malaga on Saturday (March 10) 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 Leo Messi has withdrawn for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place," said the statement on the club's official website (www.fcbarcelona.com).

It is the first time this season that Messi, La Liga's top scorer with 24 goals, has not been included in the match-day 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 on Saturday. The Argentinian and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo announced last October that they were expecting a third child.

Barca lead the LaLiga standings on 69 points, enjoying an eight-point lead over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid after beating the capital side 1-0 last Sunday with a free-kick goal by Messi.