What if Lionel Messi never played for the Argentine national team? He may have excelled in another country also — what if it was Lebanon? It’s hard to imagine that now, after his service to La Albicelestes which saw him lift the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The thing that leads to the question of Messi possibly turning out for another team comes from the fact that Messi’s parents hail from different nations.

Talking about Messi’s roots, he holds a tri-citizenship. The 8x Ballon d’Or winner is an Argentine citizen by birth but also has an Italian passport from his father’s time in the European nation. After a brisk start to his career in Argentina, the Messi family moved to Spain when he signed his contract with Barcelona at the age of 10, also earning him his Spanish citizenship. While his parents stayed with him in Spain for a while, his mother returned to Argentina alongside his other three siblings after La Pulga found his footing for the Catalan club.

But unlike Lionel Messi, who was born and raised in Argentina, his parents were migrants who moved to the South American nation before their son’s birth. La Pulga’s father, Jorge Messi, was born in Italy. Meanwhile, his mother, Celia María Cuccittini, was born and raised in Lebanon before she married her husband and moved over to Argentina. His family heritage doesn’t stop there, as his paternal grandparents’ history can be rooted back to England in the early 1900s.


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When Messi was a child, his mother worked as a part-time house cleaner, and his father at a factory, to support the family. When the family was in Spain, Celia had to go back to Argentina for work, so she left little Messi along with his siblings for her husband to look after. Messi’s father had revealed in an old interview that, Messi got to see his mother only every few months for three years during his childhood and it was very challenging for him to take care of Leo because he would cry at night looking for his mother.

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Lionel Messi is pretty close with his mother, La Pulga expressed his affection by getting a tattoo of his mother’s face on his left shoulder blade. Messi’s mother, too, is very protective of her son and has stood by him at all.


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The time when Celia María Cuccittini defended Lionel Messi from baseless criticism

Messi has always been very close to his parents. His mother has been a pillar of support for him throughout his career, while his father has been with him through his every step while also serving as his agent. While his mother likes to stay out of the spotlight, she couldn’t maintain her calm back in 2018 after her son was blamed for Argentina’s poor run in international tournaments.

Celia, in an interview with El Diario de Mariana, defended her son from the blatant criticism claiming any attack towards her son always affects the entire family. Messi’s mother stated, “We suffer from all the criticism that Leo receives. When people say that he doesn’t feel it or that he plays for the national team out of obligation, that hurts as a mother and as a family. Luckily, people love him a lot and they transmit that to him and he values this a lot. As a mother, I do, too.”


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La Pulga’s relationship with his parents continues to flourish, with the Argentine skipper usually making time to visit his family. With his career in its final stages, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Inter Miami skipper moved back to Argentina to settle alongside his mother.

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Written by

Saurabh Saket


One take at a time

Saurabh Saket is a Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. He is a passionate Borussia Dortmund fan despite them not lifting the league title in the last twelve years. This writing machine wants to make a difference with his proficiency in journalism.
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Edited by

Jacob Gijy