LIONEL MESSI has told how he had to inject his OWN legs with hormones every night when he was just 12 years old.
The Barcelona icon has revealed the details of his childhood hormone injection routine in a surprisingly personal interview.
He said: “I injected my legs once every night. I started at 12 years old. It was not something that left an impression on me.”
Messi suffered from a growth hormone deficiency when he was growing up in Rosario, in the Argentinian state of Santa Fe.
He added: “At first my parents gave me the injections from when I was eight years old until I learnt. It was a small needle.
“It did not hurt, it was something routine for me that I had to do and I did it normally.”
His parents had to pay a reported £1,069 for the hormones until his former club Newell’s Old Boys offered to pay for some of the treatment.
Messi moved with his family to Barcelona in 2001 at the age of 13 after being signed on the back of a napkin.
And the Spanish club paid for all his medical needs until he finished the hormone treatment at 14.
The Barcelona icon said: “It was not very difficult for me to come to Barcelona. I adapted quickly but my family did not. My siblings wanted to go back and they did.
“I was left alone with my father and he asked me ‘What should we do?’ I told him ‘I want to stay.”
Messi’s stunted growth has not affected his ability to play as he has gone on to score 374 goals in 410 games for Barcelona in a legendary career.
Barcelona look set to win La Liga this season as they sit 11 points clear at the top of the table.
The Catalan giants will face Italian side Roma in the quarter-finals of the Champions League as they aim to win the treble along with the Copa del Rey.
He also revealed recently how he has quit fizzy drinks and chocolate in order to stop vomiting while playing games.