How tragedy reunited childhood sweethearts Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo
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Lionel Messi and his wife Antonela Roccuzzo met and fell in love when they were children, but as the footballer’s career soared to legendary heights, they were torn apart.
After tragedy struck, however, Messi and Roccuzzo were reunited, and rekindled their childhood romance – the couple married, and now they share three children together.
Here’s everything we know about Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo’s relationship.
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Circa 1996: Messi is nine years old, and Roccuzzo is eight, and they meet in their hometown Rosario in Argentina.
Messi had been invited to spend the summer with his friend Lucas Scaglia at his house, with both boys playing in the youth league for Argentinian football club Newell’s Old Boys.
It wasn’t long before Scaglia introduced Messi to his young cousin, a gymnast, and Messi is immediately smitten with Roccuzzo. The future football great starts writing to Roccuzzo, and the pair became inseparable, with Messi often telling Roccuzzo that she would be his girlfriend when they grew up.
2000: Though Messi would often go to Scaglia’s house in the hopes of seeing his cousin – and the future couple did develop a strong friendship – in 2000, Messi’s father George Messi decides to travel to Barcelona with his family.
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While Messi and Roccuzzo try to stay in contact through letters, the duo eventually lose touch.
By 2004, Messi – now 17 and an up-and-coming football star – has been signed to Barcelona. The famous midfielder would go on to score 672 goals and win 27 major trophies for Barcelona, and, 18 years later, would accumulate an estimated net worth of $US600 million (approx. $890 million) for his troubles.
Roccuzzo, meanwhile, continued with her schooling in Argentina, taking an interest in medicine and dentistry.
2007: While studying dental medicine at the University of Argentina, Roccuzzo’s best friend dies suddenly in a car crash, leaving her devastated.
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As soon as Messi gets word of the tragedy, he travels back to Argentina to support his childhood love.
Messi and Roccuzzo ultimately rekindle their flame over a decade after they first met, dating in secret for two years before going public with their romance in 2009.
2010: Fourteen years after they first met, Messi and Roccuzzo get engaged in a private ceremony.
2012: Messi and Roccuzzo welcome their first child, son Thiago, in November.
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Messi famously announces the news of his then-fiancée’s pregnancy at – where else – a football game, after he scores a goal against Ecuador.
While celebrating his sporting victory, Messi tucks the ball under his shirt, emulating a baby bump.
2015: In April, Messi and Roccuzzo announce they’re expecting their second child, and by September, they’ve welcomed son Mateo into the world.
2017: Messi and Roccuzzo officially tie the knot after 20 years of dating, in the place where it all began – Rosario.
Three months later, they announce they’re expecting their third child.
2018: Ciro, Messi and Roccuzzo’s third son, is born in March.
Now 34, Roccuzzo – who is a model – is not shy about her love for Messi, 35, and neither is he for his wife.
When the couple marked their four-year anniversary as a married couple, Roccuzzo shared a video montage to Instagram from their ceremony and reception, writing in Spanish, ”Happy Anniversary Love ❤️4 years to this day… To many more together. I love you ❤️”
In English, that roughly translates to: “Happy anniversary my love. Four years ago today, here’s to many more together. I love you.”
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