Antonio Cuccitini, Lionel Messi's grandfather on his mother's side, admitted today that "he isn't running like he used to", although he is convinced that "he will raise his game in the coming matches" that he plays for his country in the Brazil World Cup.
"I'm honest and I'm not one for all the hype. He looks a little weak. He doesn't run like he used to. He's electric in Spain; he leaves all 22 players feeling dizzy. He's not running now; I'm unconvinced," Cuccitini said in statements to a television station in Rosario, the city of Messi's birth.
The player's grandfather was interviewed on Tuesday to mark his grandson's 27th birthday, and said that "he has to lift his spirit a little".
"I see him vomiting and it scares me. I don't know what that is about. They say it's nerves, but I'm not so sure. They've looked at everything and found nothing. Lionel used to run a lot. It really worries me; I can't help it," he remarked.
As for the Argentine captain's role in the World Cup, Cuccitini was grateful for his grandson's contribution in the match against Iran which put his side through to the last 16.
"Thank God he scored that goal just in time and put us through. He'll raise his game in the coming matches; he'll play better. You can't ask for any more. He's not God who can do everything," he said.