Meet the Family: Getting to Know Lionel Messi’s Parents, Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini.

Lionel Messi’s parents, Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini, played a pivotal role in shaping their son’s career. With their unwavering support, Lionel has become one of the greatest players in soccer history.

The Argentinian athlete, who was born in 1987, has won a record-setting eight Ballon d’Or trophies, which is considered the most prestigious individual soccer award. His extensive trophy case also includes 10 LaLiga titles, four UEFA championships, six European Golden Shoes and a gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

His proud dad and mom have cheered him on every step of the way, but for them, the accolades are secondary to their son’s character.

 

“I always say the same: what makes me proud is who Leo is as a person,” Jorge shared in Bruno Pisano’s 2011 book, My Son The Soccer Player: The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Players as Told by Their Parents, per SoccerAmerica.

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He continued, “Of course as he’s triumphed in the sport of soccer we are proud of him, but what we care about most is that he’s a good person: [We] are all proud of him for that. His success elsewhere is a consequence of who he is.”

Celia has also been open in singing her son’s praises. In 2018, she went on the TV show El Diario de Mariana and said, “Leo is a divine son, a beautiful brother, a better father and an incredible husband.”

From growing their family to supporting their son’s career, here’s everything to know about Lionel Messi’s parents, Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini.

Jorge and Celia share four children

In addition to Lionel, Jorge and Celia are the parents of older sons, Rodrigo and Matías, and a daughter, María Sol.

Though they have a famous brother, Lionel’s siblings prefer to remain out of the spotlight.

Lionel and his mom are close

Jorge and Celia initially moved their family to Spain when Leo started his career in Barcelona. Eventually, though, she returned to Argentina with his three siblings, leaving Leo with Jorge.

Celia’s departure left the future superstar despondent, who has shared that he often cried at night when he was alone, and it was also a difficult time for Leo’s dad.

“Leo needs his mother, and I needed to see my daughter,” Jorge explained in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2010. “The first three years Leo saw his mother only every four months.”

“It was very tough for me,” Lionel added. “There were moments when I was really sad and homesick, but I never thought of leaving. I knew I wanted to stay and keep playing.”

Throughout his career, Leo has found creative ways to honor his mother, no matter how costly. In 2011, the prolific forward was fined and given a yellow card for lifting his jersey in front of a camera to reveal an undershirt with the handwritten words, “Feliz cumple mami!” (which translates to “Happy birthday mommy!”)

Lionel paid tribute to Celia with a tattoo

Lionel’s left foot is legendary, but his body art is also an attention grabber. The iconic footballer’s tattoos include his famous No. 10 on his shin and the names and birthdates of his three sons above his right ankle.

One of the first bits of ink added to his body was a portrait of his mother, Celia, which sits on his left shoulder blade.

Jorge has guided Lionel’s career from the beginning

The Argentinian footballer has had one of the most impressive careers in the history of sports, and it all started with his dad.

Jorge coached at the local Grandoli club, where a young Lionel played before graduating to Newell’s Old Boys, a prominent club. At the time, the budding prodigy was diagnosed with a growth deficiency and needed an expensive hormone treatment, according to The Athletic.

Unable to foot the bill, Jorge took his son to Spain, where he convinced officials at FC Barcelona to pay for the future star’s treatment. As his son has risen through the soccer ranks, the family patriarch has even taken on the agent role, negotiating contracts on Lionel’s behalf.

Although their son has amassed a slew of accolades, Jorge and Celia have said they never pushed Lionel into a pro football career.

“We never really thought about it until he was 11 years old, and then he thought that he’d dedicate himself to soccer,” Jorge told Pisano in 2011. “He always played for fun and we were happy to see him play not because we thought he’d be a triumphant success but simply because he enjoyed it and did it well.”

Reflecting on encouraging her son in the World Cup, Celia opened up on the TV show El Diario de Mariana in 2018.

“I told him to enjoy himself, to live in the moment and be happy. I told him to do what he knows, to play just as if he was playing when he started out with Grandoli,” she said. “All the family here is supporting him.”

They are protective of Lionel

Jorge and Celia are incredibly supportive of their youngest son, and Jorge often comes to Lionel’s defense when he believes his son is being unfairly criticized. This was the case in 2010 when Lionel drew criticism from Argentinians for the national team’s failure to advance past the World Cup quarterfinal.

“More than 100 players were called up for the national team, and only one was to blame?” he told Sports Illustrated in 2010. “It’s unfair. Leo has never gotten used to the situation here in Argentina. It’s really tough for him to be in Barcelona, where he’s really loved, and then come here and hear all that criticism.”

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