THE INSIDE STORY OF THE BOY WHO BECAME A LEGEND-PART ONE.

We start with the hospital where Lionel Messi was born and where the name Messi originated from.

He was born on 24th June 1987 at Garibaldi Hospital.

A cream-coloured block built in the nineteenth-century style occupies a rectangular plot at number 1249 Visasoro street. It is the Italian hospital dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi, who is also honoured with a statue in Rosario’s Plaza de
Italia.

He is a popular figure, known as the ‘Hero of the Two Worlds’, because during his exile in South America. he fought battles along the length of the Paraná river. In those parts his Red Shirts left their mark wherever they went: for example, in the names of the Rosario and Buenos Aires hospitals, which were founded by political exiles, supporters of Mazzini and Garibaldi, and their workers’ unions.

The Rosario hospital complex was inaugurated on 2nd October,1892 in order to serve the Italian community, which at that time represented more than 70 per cent of the immigrants who had arrived from the other side of the Atlantic. Today it has one of the best maternity units in the city. It is here that the story of Lionel Messi, third child of the Messi-Cuccittini
family, begins at six o’clock one winter morning.


His father, Jorge, is 29 years old and is the head of department at steelmaking company Acindar, in Villa Constitu-
ción, some 50 kilometres outside Rosario. Celia, 27, works in a magnet manufacturing workshop.

They met as youngsters in the Las Heras neighbourhood, previously known as Estado de Israel and today known as the San Martín neighbourhood, in the southern area of the city, where the residents are humble and hardworking. Celia’s father Antonio is a mechanic,he repairs fridges, air conditioning units
and other electrical items. Her mother, also called Celia, has worked for many years as a cleaning lady. Jorge’s father
Eusebio makes his living in construction; his mother, Rosa María, is also a cleaning lady.

Little more than 100 metres separate their homes. Like many other local families, they
have Italian and Spanish ancestors.

The surname Messi comes from the Italian town of Porto Recanati, in the prov-
ince of Macerata, which saw the birth of the poet Giacomo Leopardi and the tenor Beniamino Gigli.

It is from there that one Angelo Messi departed on one of the many boats bound for America at the end of the nineteenth century, in search of a better life in the new world, like so many other emigrants carrying third-class tickets. The Cuccittinis also have Italian roots, on their father’s side.

Despite these families originating from the humid pampas, they eventually
came to settle in the city.