Stars align for a Messi affair

Stars align for a Messi affair

Wedding of the century brings together footballers, celebrities

Stars align for a Messi affair
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 team-mate 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.

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 the City Center casino, which stands right next to a crime-ridden slum run by drug gangs.

The civil wedding ceremony and party took place inside the venue, and the guests were lodged there too.

Uruguayan pop bands Rombai and Marama plus singer Karina, Aguero’s wife, was to 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 rumours that she would miss the wedding due to a quarrel with Roccuzzo.

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 theworld’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.

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.

Rumours 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 neighbourhood where Messi grew up.

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