Lionel Messi marries childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in hometown

BUENOS AIRES – Soccer superstar Lionel Messi has married his childhood sweetheart in his hometown in what has been called the “wedding of the century”.

Messi, 30, and Antonela Roccuzzo, 29, tied the knot at a luxury hotel in the city of Rosario.

The Barcelona player, who turned 30 last week, returned to the city of Rosario on Friday to wed Antonella, whom he met there before he moved to Spain aged 13.

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She is the cousin of his best friend, Lucas Scaglia, who also became a professional football player.

Messi is set to marry long-term partner Roccuzzo on June 30, 2017 – 20 years after they first met.

The couple, who now live in Barcelona, have two sons together.

Messi with his long-term partner Antonella Roccuzzo and his two sons Thiago and Mateo.

Argentine newspaper Clarín has called it “the wedding of the year” and even “the wedding of the century”.

Among the 260 guests at Friday’s wedding were Messi’s Barcelona teammates Luis Suárez, Neymar, Gerard Piqué and his wife, Colombia’s pop star Shakira. A number of guests flew into Rosario on private jets.

However, Argentina’s football legend Diego Maradona was omitted from the list, according to the local press.

Argentina’s Clarín newspaper has variously called the wedding “the wedding of the year” and “the wedding of the century”.

Aside from a “sushi station”, the menu was a very Argentine affair, including empanadas (traditional pasties) and all parts of the cow, from a casserole of sweetbreads to blood sausage.

A private security firm was working inside the hotel to keep out potential gatecrashers.

About 150 journalists received accreditation to enter a special press area, but were not given full access to the venue, organisers said.

The port city of Rosario sits on the banks of the Paraná, about 300km north-west of Buenos Aires in the centre of the country.