Foot­ball star Messi weds child­hood sweet­heart

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Lionel Messi said “I do” to child­hood sweet­heart and mother of their two chil­dren An­tonella Roc­cuzzo on Fri­day in his Ar­gen­tine home­town Rosario, where foot­ballers and celebri­ties gath­ered for the “wed­ding of the cen­tury.”

Fol­low­ing the pri­vate cer­e­mony, the cou­ple ap­peared happy and re­laxed as they walked a red car­pet be­fore hun­dreds of jour­nal­ists at a ho­tel and casino com­plex, Roc­cuzzo don­ning a tight, mer­maid-style gown by Span­ish de­signer Rosa Clara.

The cou­ple’s chil­dren Thi­ago, four, and Ma­teo, one, had front seats at the cer­e­mony at­tended by some 260 guests, in­clud­ing Shakira and her hus­band, Messi’s team­mate Gerard Pique, and nu­mer­ous foot­ballers such as Messi’s Barcelona strike part­ners Ney­mar and Luis Suarez. Ar­gen­tine me­dia called it the “wed­ding of the cen­tury” for Rosario, the gritty north­ern port city where Messi, 30, and his bride, 29, met when the player was nine years old.

For­mer Barca and cur­rent Chelsea star Cesc Fabre­gas was in at­ten­dance, along with Ar­gentina and Manch­ester City striker Ser­gio Aguero.

ROAST GIZ­ZARDS

The party was to be a respite for Messi from his le­gal woes. A Span­ish court last month re­jected his ap­peal against a tax fraud con­vic­tion. Brunette bride Roc­cuzzo wore a white, curve-hug­ging dress with a deep sweet­heart neck­line and em­broi­dered straps by Rosa Clara-a Span­ish de­signer who has dressed ac­tress Eva Lon­go­ria and Spain’s Queen Le­tizia. The wed­ding was held at 2200 GMT in the City Cen­ter casino, which stands right next to a crime-rid­den slum run by drug gangs. The civil wed­ding cer­e­mony and party were all slated to take place in­side the venue, and the guests will be lodged there too. The feast will re­port­edly fea­ture Ar­gen­tine del­i­ca­cies such as roast giz­zards.

Uruguayan pop bands Rom­bai and Marama plus singer Karina, Aguero’s wife, will per­form at the re­cep­tion. There were also ru­mors that there would be sing­ing by Shakira, the Colom­bian diva fa­mous for “Hips Don’t Lie” and “When­ever, Wher­ever.” Shakira had re­cently de­nied ru­mors that she would miss the wed­ding due to a quar­rel with Roc­cuzzo.

HUM­BLE COU­PLE

Messi and Roc­cuzzo live in Barcelona where he plays, but still re­turn reg­u­larly to Rosario for va­ca­tions.

He moved to Spain when he was 13 to join FC Barcelona, but the cou­ple kept in touch. Messi has gone on to win the top Bal­lon d’Or award five times and is widely re­garded as the world’s best foot­baller.

But var­i­ous old friends of the cou­ple in their home city said the bride and groom are hum­ble folk who have never for­got­ten where they come from. “They are the love of each other’s lives,” Messi’s child­hood friend Diego Valle­jos told AFP.

In­stead of wed­ding presents, they have asked for do­na­tions to a chil­dren’s char­ity.

‘LEO AND ANTO’

The cou­ple have re­port­edly spent the past two weeks in Rosario with fam­ily, but have kept out of sight of the re­porters who have in­vaded the city. Ru­mors cir­cu­lated of bach­e­lor and bach­e­lorette par­ties, but the only ev­i­dence that emerged was a photo, posted by ex Barca goal­keeper Jose Pinto, of Messi en­joy­ing a bar­be­cue with a few friends.

Some friends of Roc­cuzzo have shared pictures of her re­lax­ing with rel­a­tives. On the eve of the wed­ding, a fes­tive at­mos­phere reigned in the Las Heras neigh­bor­hood where Messi grew up.

“We will cel­e­brate,” said Damian Lu­goni, 27, a lo­cal sausage sand­wich ven­dor.

“I wish good luck to Leo and Anto, who is just as sim­ple and nice as him.” “We are all happy for them,” said Lisan­dro Urteaga, an artist who was called in to paint a mu­ral of Messi in the neigh­bor­hood for the oc­ca­sion.

“Let him cel­e­brate the way some­one like him de­serves. He is a real ex­am­ple as a hu­man be­ing al­though when he plays foot­ball he doesn’t seem to be from this planet.” — AFP

— AFP

ROSARIO: Ar­gen­tine foot­ball star Lionel Messi and bride An­tonella Roc­cuzzo pose for pho­tog­ra­phers just af­ter their wed­ding at the City Cen­tre Com­plex in Rosario, Santa Fe prov­ince, Ar­gentina on Fri­day.

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