Forums / The Stands: Intelligent Footy Debate
Order: Newest / Oldest
Is Messi A Cheat For Taking Human Growth Hormone?
Borg (Manchester United) 4 years ago
When Messi was a young boy he was scouted by Argentine club River Plate. The club showed lots of interest in the boy but he was so physically frail and had a hormone deficiency which they found during testing. Because of the cost of "treatment", River Plate declined to sign him and soon Messi joined Barçelona and La Masia Academy where he received Human Growth Hormone for a period of over four years. HGH is essentially steroid treatment and in many sports and countries, including the United States and the olympics "doping" is considered a serious infraction which may result in loss of medals.

Yes, I understand that Messi was already showing brilliance before his treatment but I can't help but feel that he is a cheat for undergoing this genetic engineering which is unnatural . Without it he may never have become the player he is today.

In your unbiased opinion, does Messi's history of hormone treatment make him a cheat?

Edit: This was not meant to be an attack on Messi. Rather I was trying to stimulate discussion on the issue. A few good posts have been made about the ethical issues and FIFA rules
Tony (footytube staff) 4 years ago
They are not working mate, he's a midget.... A midget gem
Franky4fingers (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Here read some more information so you can sleep well at night that Messi isn't destroying major football club sides using steroids:

Tony (footytube staff) 4 years ago
I never said he was, my comment is whats called humour.
Also midget gem means he's one hell of a player, why would I envy him as you state in a post below?
I love watching the guy
Melencoly (Manchester City) 3 years ago
A therapeutic use exemption (or TUE) is granted for a player's use of a banned substance when that substance is considered medically necessary. Section 46 of FIFA's anti-doping code contains provisions for TUEs. While Messi would technically have needed a waiver in order to have the medical treatments, and the facts would support the grant of this waiver, it is unclear whether Messi had this. WADA did not begin testing for HGH until 2004, though it was on the banned list much earlier
[account-removed] 3 years ago
Its a medical treatment as well you may say people who have asthma shouldn't use inhalers because that is cheating
Chelsearules99 (Chelsea) 3 years ago
Just like weed, it's not illegal if it's used for medical reasons which In his case it was
Franky4fingers (Barcelona) 4 years ago
You guys are so ignorant and start talking about things that you don't understand. Not all "Growth Hormones" are the same. HGH can be administered as an anabolic steroid to build muscle for athletes. Children suffering from Growth Hormone Deficiency can end up with serious health problems hence it becomes a necessity. You could have problems with bone density, weak muscles, generally stunted growth, etc. FYI, we all have glands which produce growth hormones naturally. Messi was suffering from deficiency of that as a child. Nobody was looking at him thinking, "We have a specimen here. Let's pump him up with steroids and turn him into some kind of terminator so he can go destroy China. Oh wait, even better - play football!"

I don't know if you have children, I do. When your child is born with any form of deficiency, as a parent you want to get it fixed. Nobody would ever think about this as some type of steroid shot to cheat at the Olympics. Besides, if you're "assuming" that giving him HGH turned him into the "skilled" footballer he is, you're just speculating and looking for circumstantial evidence to put down someone who is a naturally gifted human!
Tony (footytube staff) 4 years ago
As for ignorance, yeah right, I have grandchildren.
No one was belittling anyone, or anyones condition
As I said my comment was meant to be humourous, which it was, as growth hormones do not equal a small guy, more taking the piss out of the hormones than the person.
Chill out
Franky4fingers (Barcelona) 4 years ago
My comment was for the original guy not you. When I said "guys" I meant people like the original poster
Dgrant117 (Manchester United) 4 years ago
Wouldn't you say guy not guys then?
Cr7real (Fenerbahce SK) 4 years ago
I must agree with the people who think that taking hgh is cheating. Even if he was showing brilliance before his treatment, Messi would never have been the player he is today if he didn't undergo this treatment
Franky4fingers (Barcelona) 4 years ago
And the proof for your "belief" is? Envy?
Jeroen (Barcelona) 4 years ago
His name starts with Cr7. 'Nuff said.

But he's right: Messi would've been 5ft and worthless to top clubs. Just like I would die if I didn't drink anything for three days. Messi needed those growth hormones as much as we need water
HenryK (Arsenal) 4 years ago
No, preventing the normal course of a disease is not cheating. Excuse me if this seems insensitive, but would Muamba then be considered a cheat if he returns to football, after undergoing the necessary treatment for his ailment? He absolutely wouldn't
Tony (footytube staff) 4 years ago
If messi has been given courses of whatever over the years, its been to treat a condition, not to enhance his football, I don't think you could enhance his game anymore.... Lol
Jeroen (Barcelona) 4 years ago
I completely agree HenryK. Everyone can be considered a cheat if what happened to Leo is cheating. All people in sports try to take care of their bodies (or they should, anyway), by restricting their diet to what's healthy. Or when building muscles, to what is protein and fibre-rich. Or whatever doctors advise them to achieve a goal, whether it's building muscles or preventing you to grow wrongly.

If pretty much ALL doctors agree that it would have been devastating to young Messi NOT to take whatever it was he took, then how is this cheating? It's just common sense you act when your body isn't acting the way it should, according to sensible doctors at least. Not the Doctor Nick-types
Acphenom (Borussia Dortmund) 4 years ago
Personally, I don't understand how taking any growth enhancing product is cheating. If taking excess protein to build more muscle isn't cheating, then why should taking HGH or steroids be? If you want to raise the (highly-disputable) health effects then fine, but don't be a coward - call it what it is; it isn't cheating.

Or how about if Messi was born in a jungle - a mighty jungle - and was bequeathed the ancient knowledge of the football Gods and employed it to his exclusive benefit in private training sessions all the time? Would that be cheating too? Come on...
Tony (footytube staff) 4 years ago
He's hardly hulk hogan is he? ....
If you didn't know who messi was, and you were asked what you thought his occupation was, I don't think you would say a footballer.
Whatever the lad was given to treat a medical condition hasn't exactly turned him into your run of the mill adonis, or helped his career.
What messi does is natural, not enhanced.
Tdotfc (Bayern München) 4 years ago
One has to consider what would have happened if we all took the stance of treatment that Riverplate did. Suggesting that in any case, athlete or not, if with holding treatment because of its cost effectiveness is as ethical as treating someone who is in need of it.... Only for them to grow into one of the greatest football players of all time. Can't hold it against him for using the talent he's been given and the health treatments as well. Its a double standard to use his health in this because to factor it out comes at a heavier costs then the simplistic view of how "doping" may have made him the player he is. Growth Hormones haven't given him any of the advantages we would expect, they also don't make you talented with a ball at your feet
Jeroen (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Are people taking the jokes of Messi being 'alien' or 'an android' too seriously?

Come on, what else will people come up with to discredit Barcelona next time? I myself have a pollen allergy and take meds for that on a daily basis. Am I not allowed to practise sports now?

Messi needed this treatment, he was born with a serious malfunction that required treatment. How many here are so healthy that they've never taken meds to prevent becoming sicker? I even think taking a pill to cure your hangover is considered worse than this, because you don't really need it - you can just take the headache and be fine half a day later.

Let it be clear that Lionel Messi needed this as much as a cancer patient needs treatment. It's even similar: cancer is an erroneous uncontrolled growth of cells in your body that makes you malfunction. Messi's problem is a lack of growth hormone so his cells didn't develop normally at all. The HGH is something we normally ALL produce naturally, and he was given normal doses of it to compensate his lack of it
TheBarcaShow (Footytube Staff) 4 years ago
This is pretty ridiculous if you are going to say that Messi is a cheat because he needed the help of HGH to grow to be tied for the shortest person on Barcelona at 5'7.

I hope you guys realize that Messi needed these treatments to live a normal life, without these treatments he wouldn't have developed properly. Doctors guess that Messi would have barely been able to break the 4 foot mark. In some countries a fully grown Lionel would have been considered disabled because of his height.

Also.... Let it be known that ANY doping organization recognizes the needs of its athletes. Asthma is commonly treated through a medicated dose of steroids and it is very legal for athletes suffering from asthma to receive treatment as long as it is monitored by a doctor and complies with the doping guidelines.

Another thing which you need to realize is that Messi's treatment has always been monitored by a doctor.

For example, what is the difference between being given morphine as a pain killer compared to abusing it? What you guys seem to try arguing is that if you take morphine you are a drug abuser. If you have taken HGH you are a doper

Oh and @Borg.... Messi taking HGH has absolutely nothing to do with genetic engineering, genetic engineering refers to adjusting a persons genome. HGH regulates the growth of cells in the body
ManOnDMoon (Manchester City) 4 years ago
In my arrogant opinion, no medicine can turn someone into a genius. Messi is a genius
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 4 years ago
Haha epic comment
Malik (Barcelona) 4 years ago
@brag, I guess you got your answer in above posts & I am of no different opinion
But let me tell you, you're attempt was nothing more then lamp thoughts, which was backed with no evidence

Better luck next time
Borg (Manchester United) 4 years ago
I wasn't trying to attack Messi. I was curious to hear other opinions on the issue and stimulate discussion. Thank you for being the token Barça fan who takes offense to anything that goes against the grain. What "evidence" do I need? It's a question of sports ethics so opinion comes into play
Jeroen (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Black, Borg is an intelligent football fan, not one of those guys you depicted. I was surprised to see this kind of topic made by him though, because even simply making such a topic is proof he doesn't find it a completely ridiculous notion to consider this cheating
MR10 (Seattle Sounders) 4 years ago
Whether or not Messi is cheating depends of course on your definition of cheating. Generally cheating means breaking or evading the rules of a game or competition in order to gain and advantage over other competitors - and under this definition Messi is definitely not a cheat.

From the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations (article 17)

1. Any player who consults a doctor and is prescribed treatment or medication
For therapeutic reasons shall enquire whether the prescription contains
Prohibited substances or prohibited methods. If so, the player shall request
Alternative treatment.

2. If there is no alternative treatment, the player with a documented medical
Condition requiring the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method
Must fi rst obtain a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). However, TUEs will only
Be granted in cases of clear and compelling clinical need where no competitive
Advantage can be gained by the player.

These rules came into effect after Messi was treated with HGH, but Messi would have unarguably qualified for an exemption. Messi's history is well known to FIFA authorities and if he did not abide by the rules, he would not be allowed to play.

Cheating, though can also mean a violation of unspoken normative ethical constraints, in which case some might (and do) argue that Messi is a cheat. However any such definition is by nature subjective, and so if you think that Messi has somehow broken an ethical code by taking a prescribed treatment, you're free to hold that opinion - but note that Messi's is not an isolated case.

Numerous athletes take steroids for medical reasons (think Lance Armstrong in recovering from cancer) and the consensus of opinion around the world is that any athlete with a medical condition requiring treatment by hormonal steroids is allowed that treatment to correct the medical condition. Once the condition is corrected, the athlete is only back to normal strength/physical ability.

So, even with a loose, subjective definition of cheating, though you could not be proven wrong in asserting that Messi is a cheat, you will at least always be outnumbered.

Borg (Manchester United) 4 years ago
Great post. I appreciate the information on the rules
Alexinho (AC Milan) 4 years ago
Best post concerning the subject I've seen here so far.

I was to post something similar but no need now as I were using Olympic Games The Norwegian Olympic Committee rules instead of FIFA rules which are even more relevant to this concern
LeeChungYong (Arsenal) 4 years ago
Thanks for the post!
Northstream (Tottenham Hotspur) 4 years ago
As has already been said, Messi was being treated for a condition, not to enhance his football skills. To put it bluntly, he received treatment to become as close to physically normal as possible. It was not the growth hormones that made him the super human he is today!
Ant (Liverpool) 4 years ago
Is Messi a cheat for not refusing treatment for a growth abnormality when he was a child?


This is absolute straw-clutching madness
Northstream (Tottenham Hotspur) 4 years ago
JulioFC (Inter Milan) 4 years ago
Let's get one thing straight, Steroids do not enhance football skills. It enhances your physical form. Messi's football skills are all natural just like Ronaldinho's. The boy was born with that magic. Is Messi a cheat for excepting the treatment? No. The better question would be, is FC Barcelona cheating? As Messi or his parents, I wouldn't deny this treatment, especially if its being given to me for free. But, did Messi really need the treatment? Not really. Sure Messi would've stayed "short" for the rest of his life but, he'd live. It wasn't a matter of life and death for Messi but, his parents wanted him to live a normal life like everyone else. And when a team like Barcelona with all the money they have, offer to pay for it, as a parent, how can you say no. The problem I have is if its okay for teams like Barca or any other big club to go around and start picking up kids with similar problems and feed them steroids in return for the services. To me, that's just wrong. Especially when the family can't afford it. From the football point of view, its like making a deal with the devil. That's just what I think. But, anyone who says Messi got all his skills from taking steroids, is a complete idiot
Franky4fingers (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Huh? Do you even understand what lack of growth hormones does to a child? You think the only thing that would be wrong with him is he would stay short? Lack of growth hormones show various consequences in growing children. A lot of it is unpredictable. You could end up with brittle bones or have extremely weak muscles as well. The fact is Messi showed promise and his club didn't want to pay for his treatment. He would have lived but his life would have been like some handicapped person. Barcelona had the vision to realize his talent and bring him to Barca. Besides, Barca's investment could have gone south too. You also have to remember that Messi wouldn't have been Messi if it wasn't for La Masia. And you're sadly mistaken if you think Barcelona operates completely like a business. Ever wondered why Barca youth are so loyal to the club? Read their motto and you'll know why! I don't know about you but if you asked me or anybody with a rational mind whether he prefers living the life of a handicap in a small village in argentina or play for the finest club in the world and in the process make millions of dollars - I'd love to be manipulated like that
Northstream (Tottenham Hotspur) 4 years ago
Amen, Franky!
JulioFC (Inter Milan) 4 years ago
First of all you need to stop being so defensive of everything that concerns Barcelona. What are you, Messi's lover? Relax, everyone is in entitled to their own opinion. Second, did you not read what I said? I fully said that if I were in Messi's shoes, i'd also do the same thing and take the treatmnet. I understand that Messi would've been handicapped if it wasn't for the treatment but, that doesn't mean he would've died. And in case you haven't noticed, every Big club in Europe, including Barcelona, operate like a business. Like I said before though, the treatment does not affect his skills. All it did was help him grow physically. My problem is that if Barca are allowed to do that then what prevents another Team from picking another charity case and do the same thing like Messi? All in all, at the end of the day, Messi a skilled player. Even without the help of HGH, the man is a football wizard. You can't inject someone with talent. Besides, didn't he stop taking that stuff when he was still a kid? If he was still taking it as we speak then i'd call him a cheater but, I doubt that's what's happening.

Franky4fingers (Barcelona) 4 years ago
You have a right to you opinion but here's the summary: You admit you would take the treatment if you were in Messi's place and any parent would go for it. You agree that's the best thing that ever happened for a child like Messi. You agree that it doesn't enhance his performance. You agree that Messi might have been handicapped for the rest of his life. But you still have a problem if another team does the same thing for another child living in poverty?

You just blew my mind! Ha!

Kick4Life - changing lives through football