Barcelona: Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has voiced his concern for star player Lionel Messi after the Argentine was seen vomiting during his country’s goalless draw with Romania on Wednesday.
Messi was also sick on the pitch recently in Barca’s 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad and Martino admitted the player has visited specialists to try and resolve the problem.
“It is not a normal situation, but there is no alarm. He has been to see specialists but as yet they haven’t found a solution.
“The important thing is that it doesn’t affect him from doing his job. It is something that he has had for a while now.”
Messi was just one of a number of Barca players away on international duty in midweek with Brazilian duo Neymar and Dani Alves only returning to training on Friday having represented their country against South Africa in Johannesburg.
And Martino lamented having such little time to prepare for the Catalans visit to relegation threatened Valladolid on Saturday.
Barca currently trail leaders Real Madrid by a point, but can take top spot for 24 hours with a win as Madrid are not in action until Levante visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
“It has been a short week. The majority of the players arrived back on Thursday and some not even till Friday.
“We have only been able to speak about the game for one day, but that should not be an excuse. We need to concentrate, play well and win.
“The game worries me because of what it means for our opponents. They are fighting in the bottom part of the table, but they have only lost two games at home. They are very strong at home.”
Martino hinted that Neymar is likely to be rested from the start having completed the 90 minutes against South Africa and with Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, second leg against Manchester City in mind.
Gerard Pique is included in the squad for the first time in three games, though, as he has overcome a calf problem.
Even if Barca do emerge victorious at the Jose Zorilla, Madrid can retake top spot when Levante visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Los Blancos remain in the fight for titles on three fronts with just over two months of the season remaining and captain Iker Casillas admits they are targeting a first treble in the club’s history come the end of the campaign.
“Right now we are in a privileged position. We are outright leaders in the league, in the final of the Cup and, barring a disaster, we will be in the quarter-finals of the Champions League,” he told the club’s website.
Marcelo and Dani Carvajal are expected to retake their places at fullback after making a positive impression as substitutes in Real’s 2-2 draw away to local rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend.
Otherwise, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is likely to name an unchanged side as his team don’t return to Champions League action until next week.
That draw at the Vicente Calderon last weekend left Atletico still three points adrift of Real in third place.
Diego Simeone’s men have the toughest test of the title contenders on paper this weekend as they travel to Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Los Rojiblancos will also have to do without top-scorer Diego Costa as he is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Real last time out.