Messi Marrying Childhood Sweetheart in Argentina Hometown - NBC New York

Messi Marrying Childhood Sweetheart in Argentina Hometown

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

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Messi Marrying Childhood Sweetheart in Argentina Hometown
    AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano
    Newlyweds Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo pose for photographers after tying the knot in Rosario, Argentina, Friday, June 30, 2017. About 250 guests, including teammates and former teammates of the Barcelona star, attended the highly anticipated ceremony.

    Lionel Messi and his childhood sweetheart headed to the altar Friday night in his hometown for a wedding ceremony attended by some of the biggest names in soccer.

    About 250 guests were expected at the marriage of Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo at a luxury hotel. They included Barcelona teammates Neymar, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique, who will be joined by his wife, Colombian singer Shakira.

    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 were given no direct access to the ceremony or the party afterward.

    'Late Night’: Waitressing Helped Samantha Bee Prepare for Trump

    [NATL] 'Late Night’: Waitressing Helped Samantha Bee Prepare for Trump

    Seth Meyers and Samantha Bee chat about her show, “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” and the difficulty her team has writing comedy based on the current news cycle. Additionally, she says her former waitressing job helped her prepare for President Donald Trump because of the different personalities she dealt with.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018)

    Curious onlookers also gathered near the heavily guarded site hoping to snap photos of the soccer 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, was the cousin of a close Messi friend and the two shared a close relationship from 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.

    'Tonight’: Mandy Moore's Tears Melt Her 'This Is Us' Prosthetics Off

    [NATL] 'Tonight’: Mandy Moore's Tears Melt Her 'This Is Us' Prosthetics Off

    Mandy Moore chats about getting to play in all the eras of "This Is Us" and why she's happy that she gets to spend a lot more time laughing in Season 3.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018)

    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.

    "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."