Lionel Messi donates wedding leftovers to Rosario Food Bank
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi donated all the leftover food and beverages from his wedding to charity, according to Rosario Food Bank president Nadia Nazer.
Messi married his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in their home town of Rosario, Argentina, on June 30 with 260 guests in attendance, including some of the player's Barcelona and Argentina teammates like Neymar, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner ensured nothing went to waste after the party with a photograph posted on Twitter showing some of the beverages that had arrived at the Rosario food bank after the banquet.
"For us any type of donation is very well received and to be honest, we are very happy that they took us into consideration," Nazer told Rosario-based newspaper La Capital. "One of the wedding organisers got in contact with our executive director, Pablo Algrain, to offer us snacks, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.
"We told them that we had to exchange the alcoholic beverages for money as we cannot give them to institutions.
"We have friends who own bars and they buy them from us and that allows us to transform it into money as a donation to the food bank."
According to La Capital newspaper, this is not the first act of solidarity that the couple showed on their big day, with Messi and Roccuzzo requesting of guests in their invitation to donate to Techo instead of buying them gifts in a message that reportedly said: "In order to transform our joy to an act of solidarity, in place of a gift, we ask you to donate to Techo."
Techo is a non-profit organisation that works in South America and the Caribbean to help families living in extreme poverty.
"For the time being we prefer to be cautious and not give a number in terms of how much we have received because there are still some donations that have yet to arrive," Techo communications director Florencia Drucker told La Capital this week. "We are still receiving donations from foreign banks and it takes a while for them to arrive.
"They [Messi and Roccuzzo] gave us the freedom to decide where to spend the money because they know our programs and that it will be used to give continuity to those projects."
Messi, who this week agreed a new contract to keep him at Barcelona until June 2021, has always been committed to helping his native Rosario through his Leo Messi Foundation.
"We have a great relationship with the Messi Foundation and we always get jerseys and footballs to action," Nazer said.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.