Revealing the hidden story that links Messi and Roccuzzo’s fates

At the Mar del Plata resort in Punta Mogotes, a group of children playfully made holes in the sand, ran, splashed in the ocean and doodled. Two of them are connected by a red thread. These were Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo, who at that time did not imagine that they would be destined to write a love story that would make the whole world admire.

The famous image of love was taken in the summer of 1998 (as the Argentinian TV series is titled), when Leo was just 10 years old and Anto was about to turn 10 years old. Messi was then playing at Newell’s youth academy and was invited to many tournaments across the country.

Messi went to Balcarce, a town about 70 km from Mar del Plata, to compete in the championship organized by the host club Racing. Young Lionel stayed with teammate Matias Pecce in the house of a local family and took advantage of a free day to meet up with his friend at the time Antonela, cousin of Lucas Scaglia, teammate wearing number 5 at Newell’ S.

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Messi and Antonela at 10 years old on Mar del Plata beach

Speaking to the press, Messi’s former teammate at Newell’s Walter Vittor recounted how that meeting took place on the beach in Mar del Plata: “Lucas Scaglia and Antonela’s family arrived at the right moment. importance of the tournament. It’s summer vacation time, Mar del Plata is crowded with people and that creates an opportunity for many families to go away. I remember seeing Antonela with her family. Leo often stayed at Scaglia’s house and thus forged a close relationship with Anto.”

Vittor was recruited by Newell’s along with Facundo Roncaglia, who recently played for Boca Juniors and became a member of the Argentina squad. Since at that time there was no room in the boarding house for such boys, the Scaglia family opened their doors to them.

“Anto lives a few blocks away and after practice we meet at Lucas’s house or his grandmother’s house. We are a group of boys who always have fun with the ball. We played football on the street, in the garage, in the small yard. Even on the computer, we play FIFA 98 and take turns playing. After every afternoon we Leo, Antonela, Facundo, Lucas and his younger brother enjoy a snack or dinner. We can do some mischievous things, like the day we used a ball to smash a paint bucket of a man working in front of Scaglia’s house. It was a wonderful time, I never knew what would happen over time,” this unwitting witness recalled of the budding love story.

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Newell’s won the final against Racing de Balcarce in a championship where Messi and Antonela met on a beach in Mar del Plata

It is said that Leo has liked Antonela since they entered their teens. Walter Vittor explains this: “When they are together, there is a semi-mischievous look around. Obviously, it’s all in the childlike innocence that we inherently have, nothing more. After that, that relationship developed strongly later on.”

The relationship between all involved was maintained in 1998 and 1999 when that youth team took a trip to the US to compete in an international tournament. But in 2000, Messi’s father, Jorge Messi, was informed that the club was no longer responsible for injecting hormones for his youngest son’s development and that is why they sought an alternative to Newell. ‘S. At the River, they didn’t get enough attention and Barcelona opened their doors. Here, Messi underwent testing in September and returned to Rosario until being signed permanently in early 2001. Cousins Antonela Roccuzzo and Lucas Scaglia remained in the city of Santa Fe. Walter Vittor returns to his hometown of Entre Rios.

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Lionel and Antonela on a walk in Barcelona in 2009

At that time, having a computer at home was not common and the Internet was even more difficult. That is why communication between Lionel and Antonela, almost 13 thousand kilometers apart, was carried out by letter. “I will become your girlfriend,” the young La Masia player promised La Negra (as many of her close members still affectionately call her), who sometimes imagines what it would be like to be in Messi’s company. on an adventure across Europe.

In 2005, Messi returned to Rosario to visit his teenage girlfriend as she mourned the death of one of her best friends in a traffic accident. That action comforted Antonela and she finally understood that Messi would be the love of her life.

Messi is still focused on his professional career, but he returned to Argentina to meet Antonela to ask her to move permanently to Barcelona. In 2007, when they were 20 years old, they officially got engaged.

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