Ok guys, so it’s official! Champion footballer Lionel “Leo” Messi ties the knot with his childhood heartthrob Antonella Roccuzzo in Rosario, Argentina, the couple’s hometown.
The Friday ceremony was held at the plush Rosario City Center hotel and casino amid watertight security befitting a head of state. Reportedly, the security detail included 450 police officers and ex-Mossad agents covering the red carpet affair which saw the likes of Shakira and the crème de la crème of the football fraternity in attendance.
Conspicuously absent from the nuptial extravaganza was compatriot and football icon Diego Maradona who said his invitation must have got “lost somewhere.” However, the legendary footballer maintains that he holds no grudge against the Barca star and still considers him a top level professional.
Maradona, whose name did not feature in the star-studded guest list said: “My invitation to the wedding was lost somewhere, but my attitude towards Messi will not change because of this. He is a good athlete and an excellent guy.”
Other notable omissions were Messi’s recent coaches, including Pep Guardiola.
Altogether, 260 guests attended the matrimonial ceremony including family and childhood friends. Among the attending soccer stars were Messi’s international team-mates Sergio Romero, Angel Di Maria, and Maxi Rodriguez while his past and present Barca team-mates included Javier Mascherano, Xavi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Samuel Eto’o and Carles Puyol.
The man of the moment, Messi, wore an Armani suit designed by Argentinian designer Claudio Cosano while the bride glowed in her strapless gown with a long train which was reportedly flown in from Spain a day before the wedding, accompanied by two bodyguards.
Colombian pop star Shakira looked stunning in a sheer black dress completing the ensemble with strappy black stilettos and a gold clutch with her hair styled in an up and down do. Her partner Gerard Piqué – friend and Barca teammate of the groom – looked dapper in a black tuxedo and bow tie.
The “Underneath Your Clothes” singer posted a photo of herself and Pique in their wedding garb with the caption “Gracias a Antonella y Leo y a la gente de Rosario por su hospitalidad! Shak,” which translates to “Thanks to Antonella and Leo and all the people of Rosario for your hospitality! Shak.”
Gracias a Antonella y Leo y a la gente de Rosario por su hospitalidad! Shak pic.twitter.com/AsyTpGhyvx
— Shakira (@shakira) July 1, 2017
The ceremony was a private affair despite the reported presence of more than 150 journalists at the venue. According to CNN, the hotel was made inaccessible to the public who watched the proceedings on huge screens set up in different parts of the city.
However, the beaming couple made it a point to appear before the cheering crowd that had assembled outside the Rosario City Center hotel.
Incoming guests were given the choice of making a low profile entry through a nondescript side entrance or walk down the red carpet lined by the attending world press. Footballer Samuel Eto’o was the first guest to take the red carpet route followed by Aguero and girlfriend Karina, Cesc Fabregas and fiancee Daniella Seeman, and Argentine national team player Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Messi’s Barca team-mate Neymar arrived sans girlfriend Bruna Marquezine who is said to have declined a marriage proposal by Neymar according to Argentinian media.
The grand affair was not without its share of controversy, though, with Messi’s mom Celia Maria Cuccittini going against Argentinian tradition by choosing to wear a white frock for the occasion, allegedly, in an attempt to upstage the bride.
Reportedly, Messi’s and Antonella’s families are not on talking terms and had to be strategically placed on two separate floors booked exclusively for the two families at the City Center hotel complex.
The 30-year-old soccer genius and his bride Roccuzzo, 29, were finally united in matrimony in the presence of their two young sons Thiago and Mateo.