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The story behind Lionel Messi’s fashion designer wife Antonela Roccuzzo

She may be the ultimate football WAG, but mother of three Antonela does not do media interviews or seek to cash in on her fame alongside a partner she has known since she was a child.

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Behind every successful sporting superstar is a rock solid family set-up and that is certainly the case with Argentine football great Lionel Messi.

The player widely respected as the best to have played the game in this century has been a superstar from the moment he broke through in the Barcelona first team at the age of 16 in 2003.

Messi has gone on to conquer the football world time and again as he led Barcelona to four Champions League wins with performances that constantly took the breath away.

Despite his high-profile, Messi has managed to keep his private life behind closed doors, with wife his glamorous Antonela Roccuzzo rarely capturing the headlines.

She may be the ultimate football WAG, but mother of three Antonela does not do media interviews or seek to cash in on her fame alongside a partner she has known since she was a child.

With over 23million followers on her Instagram page, Antonela has a huge following in her own right, even if hubby Leo puts that in the shade with his stunning 391million followers.

The pair met in their hometown of Rosario as she is the cousin of Messi’s best friend from his choldhood, Lucas Scaglia.

Their relationship was flourishing and in 2005, Antonela’s best friend, Ursula Notz, died in a car accident.

After Messi flew back to Argentina from Spain to comfort his future bride, according to Argentina's Para Ti and since then, the couple have been inseparable.

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The couple did not reveal their romance initially, but went public in 2009 and have since gone on to have a growing family with three sons; Thiago, nine, Mateo, six, and Ciro, four.

In an interview with MARCA, Messi spopke about his love for Antonela, as he suggested her support was crucial to his sporting triumphs.

"The truth is that (I admire) everything about her,” he said.

"She has many good qualities: how she gets by on a daily basis; her personality; she is always in a good mood; and she always faces up to problems in an admirable way.

"She is a very intelligent person who is great in all aspects of life.”

They married in 2017 and Messi has suggested the arrivals his sons has changed his perspective on life, as sporting success is not longer the primary focus.

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"The defeats hurt but I deal with them in another way,” he told FOX Sports Argentina.

“When Thiago was born [in 2012] I understood that the priorities are different and not just the result of a game.

“It hurts a lot to lose but I get to my house and I see my children and my wife and it passes.

“Before that, I came home and I locked myself up and I did not want to watch TV and I did not eat.

“Now I have a duty to be at the table with my children. I still suffer but I handle it in another way.

“Getting up, trying again, is the message for children who like to watch me.

"I want to finish my career and win something with the national team or try as many times as possible, not to be left with people who did not want me or bad comments towards me.”

Antonela has been in the stands with her sons watching Messi’s attempt to win the World Cup for the first time in Qatar.

And it is safe to assume there will be tears among the Messi clan if that long-standing dream is finally realised as Argentina take on France in Sunday's Final.

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