(1 Jul 2017) Lionel Messi and his childhood sweetheart married on Friday night at a ceremony in his Argentine hometown attended by some of the biggest names in soccer.
About 250 guests attended the marriage of Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo at a luxury hotel.
They included Messi’s Barcelona teammates Neymar, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique, who was joined by his wife, Colombian pop star Shakira.
Argentines were abuzz over the wedding in Rosario, an agricultural hub and the country’s third-largest city about 300 kilometres (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 afterward.
Curious onlookers gathered before the wedding near the heavily guarded site hoping to snap photos of the soccer stars.
Messi, 30, grew up in a lower-middle-class neighbourhood in Rosario along with two brothers and a sister.
His bride, 29, is the cousin of a close Messi friend 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, a five-time FIFA world player of the year, 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.
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