Lionel Messi’s Wife Knew Him Since Childhood—A Look Back At Their Relationship

Lionel Messi, Antonela Rocuzzo
Photo: Getty Images

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His number-one fan. As his last World Cup match approaches, many footballer fans are asking: Who is Lionel Messi dating?

Well, it’s the love story for the ages.  From a young age, he showed great potential and started to play for Barcelona FC at the age of 17. He led the team to victory by winning his first Ballon d’Or at age 22 and continued to do so for four years in a row. Messi is a long-term standout and champ, winning a record seven Ballon d’Ors. He played for Barcelona for more than 16 years, but in 2020, the team announced that they could not afford to pay out his salary and he subsequently moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. He announced that the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Qatar would be his last.

Back to his love life, who is Lionel Messi dating? Well, the better question is…ahem, who is Lionel Messi’s wife?

Who is Lionel Messi dating?

Antonela Roccuzzo (2008 – present)

Lionel Messi is married to model and childhood friend Antonela Rocuzzo. They grew up in the same hometown in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. The two met through his friend, and her cousin Lucas Scaglia, who Leo played soccer with in his youth. The two liked each other since the age of 9, but the young and talented Leo moved to Spain in his teenage years to play for the younger FC version of Barcelona.

Lionel and Antonela reconnected after Antonela’s best friend Ursula Notz tragically died in a car accident. As soon as he heard the news, he reportedly flew back immediately to his home country to console Antonela. In a tribute to raise awareness for traffic accidents, she posted on Instagram.  “Absences are felt in everyday life, on birthdays, on anniversaries, at parties. Absences are disturbing,” she wrote in Spanish. “When we understand that we will no longer listen to that voice that accompanied us, absences transform, being able to turn pain into action, but knowing that we will never be the same as before. Absences guide us. Absences hurt, but they also relaunch us.”

The two kept their relationship private for a year in 2008 and eventually became public in 2009 after he revealed it in an interview. Antonela was pursuing a career in dentistry but eventually moved to Leo’s house in Castelldefels, Barcelona. In June 2012, they announced that they were expecting their first child together. On November 2, 2012, Thiago Messi-Rocuzzo was born.

“You grow and you learn,” Messi told FC Barcelona about being a father. “You gather experience in all aspects of life, on and off the field. But, as a human being, having three children changed my perspective on life, my way of thinking and it also helped me grow.” He added, “Even though there are few moments of respite at home with three kids, we try to enjoy every second with them, whether it is watching the TV, playing or whatever. We like to stay at home and enjoy these moments.” A second child, Mateo Messi-Rocuzzo, was born on September 11, 2005. “Mateo is very special. He’s always doing new things, things that grab your attention,” Leo said of the middle child. The couple’s third child, Ciro Messi Roccuzzo, was born on March 10, 2018.

The couple eventually married on June 30, 2017, in their hometown of Rosario, Argentina in the hotel City Center. Among those invited to the wedding include his Barcelona teammates, Neymar, Sergio Agüero, Shakira and her former partner Gerard Piqué. The wedding was dubbed “Wedding of the Century” by multiple outlets by the amount of fans trying to take a peek at the glamorous wedding of the national superstar. In an Instagram post of their wedding, Antonela posted lovely song lyrics to “Sin Principio Ni Final” by Abel Pintos.

With 23 million followers, Antonela posts regularly on Instagram of their family life. In November 2016, Roccuzzo announced that she signed a modeling contract with designer Ricky Sarkany.  In the days leading up to the World Cup final, she posted pictures of the three kids exploring the country of Qatar. She also uses her Instagram for her modeling career and other business ventures.

In August 2021, Messi’s long-term team FC Barcelona announced that the team could not offer a renewal due to being in debt and following years of overspending and the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, the club said, “Despite having reached an agreement between Barça and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it will not be possible to formalize due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations)”. Messi wanted to stay at his long-term football club and previously stayed with a 50 percent pay cut to help Barca economically. When his departure was announced on August 6, 2021, he cried in a press conference along with fellow teammates, midfielder Frenkie de Jong and striker Sergio Aguero.

Two days later, he signed with Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer. His base salary for the team is smaller than his Barcelona earnings. His contract offers him a base salary of $75 million a year. After taxes, his earnings are estimated to be around $40 million dollars. Antonela and his kids moved along to Paris where they go to school. “Now I am very well. I am fully adapted once we were able to enter our new home and the children started school and their daily routine,” Messi said of the move. “We also had to go through many trips to Argentina with the knockout matches that prevented us from having continuity at the match level here. But when it comes to life, I’ve settled down well.”

On his last World Cup, Messi reflected about the impact of his family had on trying to lead the Argentina National team to victory via The Sun. “From the beginning to the final whistle I was thinking about my family,” he said. My children especially, as they are growing older and understand more. We have had families before at World Cups – Thiago has been there but wasn’t aware what it meant. I now see how they suffer and enjoy it. It’s something spectacular. They are excited as all Argentinians – it’s amazing to share this with them.”

Lionel Messi and The Art of Living By Andy West

The Art of Living

Courtesy: Pitch Publishing

Although the details of Messi’s story are already well known, The Art of Living examines afresh and anew his highs and lows, his successes and failures, his ongoing evolution and his endless struggle to succeed. It encourages us to consider, to analyze, and—above all—to think about Messi’s career from a different viewpoint, understanding how his journey can be related to our own lives on a meaningful and impactful level.

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