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Lionel Messi’s gritty humble hometown braces for a glam wedding

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Security is at the top of everyone’s minds in Rosario, Argentina these days.

On Friday, soccer superstar Lionel Messi will be married there to Antonella Roccuzzo at a lavish celebration bringing together some of the world’s best-paid soccer players, just up the street from one of the city’s poorest and most dangerous neighbourhoods.

Some 21 members of the hugely popular FC Barcelona team, including Luis Suarez and Neymar, as well as stars like Gerard Pique — accompanied by partner Shakira, perhaps more popular than the Catalan defender himself — will be flying into this port city 180 miles (300 kilometers) north of Buenos Aires.


The luxurious City Centre casino-hotel complex, where guests will stay and the ceremony is expected to take place, borders a poor neighbourhood known as the birthplace of the bloody drug gang Los Monos.

“Messi’s marriage — like the casino’s presence in the neighbourhood — is a metaphor for inequality,” provincial official Carlos Del Frade, author of several books on Rosario’s exploding drug trade, told AFP.

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