Football star Messi weds childhood sweetheart

Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, flew in to join the 260 guests including numerous footballers such as Messi’s Barcelona strike partners Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Newlyweds Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo pose for photographers in Rosario.   -  AP

Lionel Messi said “I do” to childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in his Argentine hometown Rosario, where footballers and celebrities including pop singer Shakira had gathered for the “wedding of the century.”

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

Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, flew in to join the 260 guests including 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.

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. He 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.

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