Leo Messi, the world’s greatest footballer, married his childhood sweetheart today in a lavish Argentinian ceremony.
More than 250 friends and family – including some of football’s biggest names – jetted to Argentina, to watch the sporting star, 30, marry Antonella Roccuzzo, 29, at the plush hotel complex as an alleged family feud threatened to overshadow the day.
The couple, who have known each other for some 25 years, banned mobile phones at the event. Staff were also sworn to secrecy and 450 police officers were drafted in for the big day.
The world’s press lined a red carpet at the entrance of the hotel in Rosario. Guests chose whether they walked along it to be photographed and interviewed, or went through a discreet side entrance.
Samuel Eto’o was the first guest to walk along the red carpet and past the world’s press, followed by Aguero and girlfriend Karina, Cesc Fabregas and fiance Daniella Seeman, Antonella’s best friend, and Argentine national team player Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Barcelona teammate Neymar arrived on his own because, according to Argentinian media, he proposed to girlfriend Bruna Marquezine and she said no.
Women guests were reportedly encouraged to bring three dresses to avoid clashes or repeats of clothes, or even colours and textures, while male guests were told to take three different types of shirts.
The wife of former Argentina and Manchester City defender Marin Demichelis, playboy model Evangelina Anderson, reportedly brought five dresses to make sure she her outfit wasn’t similar to any of the other WAGS.
The occasion was briefly interrupted by a group of workers representing 600 people who had recently been sacked from Pepsico in the city, who took advantage of the media presence to protest with banners and chants.
Meanwhile, one Messi superfan, a Brazilian called Alex who is also a Messi double, claimed he had come to Rosario to marry his wife at exactly the same time as the footballer, on a homemade altar on the pavement outside the hotel.
Messi and Antonella took their wedding vows with eldest son Thiago sitting inches in front of them.
After the couple were pronounced man and wife, Messi, wearing a blue Armani suit, kissed his bride before caressing Thiago’s hair.
And in a surprise moment for Antonella, arranged by Messi without her knowledge, Argentinian singer Abel Pintos ended the ceremony singing her favourite song, Sin Principio ni final (Without Beginning or End).
The first guests begin to arrive for the wedding of Lionel Messi and his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in Rosario, Argentina