September 15, 2023 at 7:01 AM
- Lionel Messi was with his Argentina teammates for the game against Bolivia
- Rodrigo De Paul revealed he chose to be with the team over attending his son’s birthday
- His wife Antonella Roccuzzo made Mateo Messi feel special with a beautiful message that day
It must not be easy being Lionel Messi, having to choose between the national team or being there for your son’s birthday.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was not named in Argentina’s squad to face Bolivia for the second game of their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign despite missing out on Mateo’s birthday.
There were doubts about his availability due to fitness reasons after coming off tired in the final minutes of their 1-0 win over Ecuador in the first game at the El Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.
Head coach Lionel Scaloni remained tight-lipped over what decision was made despite claiming the Inter Miami superstar was available to travel with the team to La Paz.
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Antonella’s well wishes to Mateo Messi
According to Hola, Messi and Antonella are childhood sweethearts and met in their hometown, Rosario. The couple have three kids together – Thiago, Mateo and Ciro.
It was Mateo’s birthday on September 11, and Antonella took to her Instagram page to wish his second son well.
“Happy birthday boy. We love you infinitely Matu. 8 years of stealing hearts,” she wrote.
It is without doubt that Messi made similar efforts to wish his son well on his special day as well, although not in the public glare despite not being present to spend the day with him having sat on the bench throughout the entire game.
His children must know by now the sacrifices their superstar father has to make will more often than not result in him being unavailable for birthdays and the like, but the bond between father and children is undeniable.
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Teammate and ‘bodyguard’ Rodrigo De Paul hailed him as an absolute leader who loves and cares for the team after supporting them in their 3-0 win over Bolivia.
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Sports Brief reported that Messi has a new job with Argentina, which allowed him a space on the bench for the Copa America champions 3-0 win over Bolivia.
FIFA prohibits players not in the matchday squad from being on the bench, but the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was allowed after filling out a form as part of Scaloni’s crew.