- The FC Barcelona team bus left Lionel Messi at Anfield on Tuesday because the player took too long to pee.
- Barça was defeated in the Champions League semifinal, and nobody seemed as dejected as Messi.
- The forward cut a forlorn figure, hurried through the mixed zone without speaking to the media, and had to submit a random urine test.
- But the Barcelona delegation left Messi there because it had a flight to catch, Business Insider was told.
- A vehicle and an escort remained with Messi, and he was shuttled to the airport before everybody jetted back to Spain together.
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The FC Barcelona team bus left Lionel Messi at Anfield after a crushing 4-0 defeat by Liverpool FC on Tuesday night because the player was taking too long to pee during a random doping test.
Barça had a 3-0 advantage from the first leg in Spain last week but was powerless to prevent a resurgent Reds team after two goals each from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum settled the match for Liverpool, which now advances to the Champions League final on June 1.
Though Messi was ranked as Barcelona’s best player according to WhoScored.com data, having attempted five shots and supplied three chances for his teammates, the team was unable to score what could have been a critical goal and left the pitch dejected and empty-handed.
Messi cut a forlorn figure, hurried through the mixed zone without speaking to the media, and was called on for a random drug test, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to Business Insider.
Watch Messi shun the press below:
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) May 7, 2019
Spanish and British tabloids reported that the Barcelona team bus left Messi at Anfield, with various reports indicating that this was because he had to do a urine test.
The reason, Business Insider was told, was that Messi was taking too long to pee. Barcelona still arranged for a car to wait for Messi, and he joined the squad before the club jetted back to Spain together.
“There are some players from each team that are picked at random by the doping control after matches in the Champions League,” the source said.
“They take names at random, and they’re the ones that have to submit to the doping control. One of the players was Messi,” the source added.
The source said that “the team, the officials, managers, players” wait for the player but that “at a certain point, the delegation prefers everyone leaves to go to the airport, as the team, coaches, everyone has to go through the procedures at the airport with boarding passes.”
Business Insider was told that in the cases where a player is left, an escort and a “special vehicle” are arranged to shuttle the player to the airport once he has passed the doping control.
“This is something that happens very, very, very often,” the source said. “Not all players can pass the doping control at the same time. Some players submit a sample of urine quickly; some players take more time. The quick players pass the doping control, go with the rest of the team to the airport.
“If a player takes more time, then the team waits to a certain point, but the delegation thinks it’s better for everybody to start the procedures at the airport.
“That is very usual, and yesterday that was the case for Messi. If it was any other player, it would have been the same. [Clément] Lenglet, [Gerard] Piqué … the decision would have been the same. We wait for the player at the airport, he takes the car, goes to the airport, and he joins the rest of the team, and everybody flies back to the city – and that is the story. It is as simple as this.”
Barcelona won the La Liga championship last month but has two league matches left: a game against Getafe at Camp Nou on Sunday before a trip to Eibar the following Saturday.
It has a chance to win another competition at the end of the month when it takes on Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.
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