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In pics: Lionel Messi marries childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in Rosario

Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo have been together since 2008 and have two children together

Ayush Chatterjee 1 July 2017, 4:43 PM

Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo beaming with happiness after walking down the aisle Image: AFP

Messi's father, Jorge Horacio Messi (centre), flanked by wife Celia Maria Cuccittini (left) and sister Maria (right) Image: AFP

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero with girlfriend Karina Tejeda at the wedding Image: AP

Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas and Carles Puyol with their wives at the wedding Image: AP

Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo got married in June 2017 Image: AP

Angel Di Maria and his wife were in attendance at the wedding in Rosario Image: AFP

Barcelona defender Jordi Alba and his wife strike a pose on the red carpet ahead of the wedding Image: AFP

Luis Suarez and his wife Sofia Balbi at his Barcelona strike partner Lionel Messi's wedding Image: AFP

Former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o with his wife at Lionel Messi's wedding in Rosario Image: AFP

Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez and his wife were also present at the wedding Image: AFP

Lionel Messi married his childhood sweetheart on Friday night at a ceremony in his Argentine hometown. The wedding was attended by about 250 guests, including some of the biggest names in football such as Messi's Barcelona teammates Neymar, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique, who was joined by his wife, Colombian pop star Shakira.

 

Former Barcelona teammates Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas and Samuel Eto'o were also in attendance. So were Argentine teammates Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Argentines were abuzz over the wedding in Rosario, an agricultural hub and the country's third-largest city, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires.

About 150 journalists were allowed to cover the event, but had no direct access to the ceremony or the party afterwards.

Curious onlookers gathered before the wedding near the heavily guarded site, hoping to snap photos of the football stars.

"We think it's great that Messi has come to Rosario to get married," said Julio Sosa, who cleans windows for a living.

Messi, 30, grew up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in Rosario along with two brothers and a sister. His bride, 29, is the cousin of a close friend of Messi, and the new couple has been close friends since meeting at a young age.

Messi and Roccuzzo stayed in touch after he left to play soccer in Spain at age 13 and they eventually started a romantic relationship in the late 2000s.

Roccuzzo moved to Barcelona, where the couple live with their two sons, 4-year-old Thiago and 1-year-old Mateo. But they often return to their native Rosario.

"Messi could have had this wedding wherever he liked — Dubai, the moon. He can pay any plane ticket to anyone, but he chose the city that's in his heart," said Leandro Macaya.

Messi, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, has faced criticism in Argentina because he has never brought the country a major title, in contrast to his repeated successes playing for Barcelona. But he is praised both at home and abroad for keeping his common touch.

"He was always the same and he never changed," said Diego Vallejos, a childhood friend who was invited to the wedding.

"Despite everything that he's accomplished in life, he's still the same simple kid, the skinny dude that I grew up with. It's hard to explain the feeling — I'm both a friend and a fan.

(With inputs from AP)

Read more:

Lionel Messi's wedding guestlist has some surprise exclusions

Cesc Fabregas catches up with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in Barcelona

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