WHEN looking after the highest-profile athlete on planet earth, you might expect the most extravagant and expensive methods and materials would be used get them in tip-top shape.
However, it turns out all you actually need is a flower remedy which can be picked up from Boots for less than £10.
At least that is the case if you are Dr Giuliano Poser, who oversaw the treatment of Lionel Messi from 2013 until 2018.
Messi’s stunning career which has seen him win the World Cup and seven Ballon d’Or awards was threatening to unravel following a string of injuries which were impacting his form.
The then Barcelona and Argentina star, already a legend of the game aged 26, enjoyed a diet of pizza, fizzy drinks and red meat.
But as he got older, his body could no longer deal with the intensity of professional football and his lifestyle after bouts of vomiting on the pitch.
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Something had to give.
And that is where Italian nutritionist Dr Poser comes in.
Messi flew to Sacile, in Italy to discuss his issues at Poser’s clinic.
With a two-decade background as a sports medicine practitioner, Poser preached some unorthodox methods compared to his colleagues.
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Starting out, Poser ordered Messi to radically overhaul his diet.
According to Argentine journalist Veronica Brunati, Messi was told to only eat what his body needed, rather than what it wanted.
That meant foods not tolerated by the body were purged from his diet.
Flour, yeast and wheat found in pizza, pasta and white bread were all out.
Pork, beef, eggs, shellfish and diary products were cut too, meaning Messi would have to go without the Argentine favourite of asado – a driving force behind the reason Argentina stayed in Student Halls during the 2022 World Cup instead of a five-star hotel.
Naturally, the ban extended to fizzy drinks and alcohol.
While it was a lot to remove, Poser ensured they were replaced with a number of high-quality options.
Organic and fresh foods such as vegetables and seasonal fruits, mineral water and a caffeine-rich tea drink called Mate – a South American speciality – came in to fill the void.
Messi went on to lose 3kgs by the time the 2014/15 season rolled around.
Poser explained: “Vegetables, seasonal fruits and good mineral water are essential fuels for our muscles.
“You have to reduce the intake of processed foods or foods contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and medications.”
Cheap but cheerful
However, the new diet was just the first step of this new way of life.
Poser also set Messi down a path of trying to find mental and physical equilibrium by recommending emotional work and psychotherapy.
But perhaps the most unusual treatment Poser prescribed was Bach flower remedies, developed by Edward Bach in the 1930s.
The remedies are said to help reduce negative emotions such as anxiety by targeting the limbic system, the part of the brain which deals with emotions.
A number of high-profile celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Emma Watson have previously revealed they use the remedies.
You can pick up a bottle of this miracle remedy for less than £10 in Boots, although be aware that according to Medical News Today, there is no direct evidence of them being effective.
Regardless, Messi returned with a bang in the 2014/15 season, scoring 58 goals and adding 31 assists from 57 games.
This was a stark improvement over the previous season when Messi had managed just 46 games, though he naturally still turned out an impressive 41 goals and 14 assists in all competitions.
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Smile because it happened
With Poser’s methods proving to be effective, Messi stayed under the doctor for a number of years.
However, all good things must come to an end, and Messi’s visits to Poser came to an end in 2018 when he succeeded Andres Iniesta as Barcelona captain.
Thereafter Messi entrusted his health to Dr Maria Antonia Lizarraga Dallo, who leads the Spanish giant’s nutrition team, until he left Spain for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.
Messi has continued to go from strength to strength since, finally lifting the World Cup with Argentina.
For Poser, their split was an overdue return to normalcy, though he is thankful for Messi’s contribution to his career.
He explained to Mundo Deportivo: “I’d say the Messi effect turned my life upside down, especially during the first three months, because the phone never stopped ringing and journalists appeared from all the corners of the world, who I didn’t see, of course.
“That affects anyone’s day-to-day, ever more for a person like me, living a very calm life.
“But, all around the world they’ve seen and they see Messi, and since then they can’t no longer doubt my method. It can be seen every week.”
Messi’s impact on Poser’s career has been profound.
Poser now has a clientele including a number of other Argentina aces.
The Italian was visited by Gonzalo Higuain in 2015 and later Paulo Dybala in 2018.
Both went on to feel the impact of Poser’s teachings.
In the case of ex-Chelsea star Higuain, he went to the Italian to help him break through a crisis of confidence.
Like he did with Messi, Poser ordered Higuain to cut out red meat but also told him to limit his fish intake and to replace sugar with honey in his diet.
Higuain went on to lose 4kgs and then embark on his best-ever season, netting 38 goals in 42 games at Napoli.
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Similarly, Dybala called on the good doctor’s help to get him fit again to face Tottenham in the Champions League Last 16.
Despite missing the first leg of the tie Dybala returned to haunt Spurs in the second leg, scoring the winner as Juventus performed a remarkable comeback.
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk