Barcelona super star Lionel Messi said “I do” to childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo Friday 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 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. The party was to be a respite for Messi from his legal woes. A Spanish court last month rejected his appeal against a conviction for tax fraud.
The wedding was held in the City Center casino, which stands right next to a crime-ridden slum run by drug gangs.
Messi and his wife met in Rosario and have been inseparable since first crossing paths as teenagers. They have two sons together.
Messi, who moved to Spain at the age of 13 and has lived in Barcelona since, arrived home to a new mural in his honour, created in anticipation of his wedding.