ROSARIO (Argentina) • Some of the biggest names in world football gathered in Argentina on Friday to see Barcelona striker Lionel Messi wed his long-time girlfriend Antonela Roccuzzo.
Past and present Barcelona team-mates Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Neymar and Luis Suarez were all there, as was Gerard Pique and his pop star wife Shakira.
Several Premier League players were also among the 260 guests, including Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.
An extra 350 police were drafted in to provide security for the event, which took place in Rosario.
Messi grew up in this city before heading to Barcelona, where he has forged a career and become a five-time world player of the year.
Messi met Roccuzzo, who is also from Rosario, when they were growing up. The couple have two children, Thiago, four, and Mateo, 21 months.
According to the Daily Mail, the couple, who have known each other for some 25 years, banned mobile phones at the event. Staff were also sworn to secrecy.
A SIMPLE COUPLE
I wish good luck to Leo and Anto, who is just as simple and nice as him.
DAMIAN LUGONI, a sausage sandwich vendor, congratulating the newlyweds.
Guests entered the hotel via a red carpet with the world's press lined up on the side. Former Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o was among the the first footballers to enter.
He was followed by Aguero and his girlfriend Karina, Fabregas and his fiancee Daniella Semaan, who is Roccuzzo's best friend, and Argentina international Ezequiel Lavezzi.
According to Argentinian media, Neymar arrived on his own because he proposed to girlfriend Bruna Marquezine and she said no.
Although the event was lavish, various old friends of the couple said the bride and groom are humble folk who have never forgotten where they come from.
"They are the love of each other's lives," Messi's childhood friend Diego Vallejos said.
"Instead of wedding presents, they have asked for donations to a children's charity."
On the eve of the wedding, a festive atmosphere reigned in the Las Heras neighbourhood where Messi grew up.
"We will celebrate," said Damian Lugoni, 27, a local sausage sandwich vendor.
"I wish good luck to Leo and Anto, who is just as simple and nice as him."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS