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A video showing Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi kissing a woman minutes after his side won the World Cup final in Qatar has circulated heavily on social media, where netizens claim he acts of his mother. If this one was indeed photographed hugging him after the match, the woman that we see in the clip is in fact a cook for the Argentine national team.
“Touching image: Lionel Messi’s mother breaks down and bursts into tears in her son’s arms“says the voiceover of a video that has accumulated nearly a million views on Facebook since December 18, 2022. In this sequence of more than three minutes, the author summarizes the key moments of the end of the match having consecrated the victory of Argentina over France at the stadium of Lusail, in Qatar.
He thus takes up an affirmation relayed, with a moving 14-second video sequence, by several publications and online news media (1, 2). It also circulates in English and on Twitter.
A reverse image search of the key footage of the embrace filmed, with the tool, with the Google tool, leads to several articles from Argentinian press organs which identified this woman as Antonia Farias, the chef of the national team of Argentina football – as seen here and here.
Ms. Farias is one of the heads of the Argentine delegation to the 2018 World Cup, as evidenced by this statement released by the Argentine Football Federation.
Argentinian press reports also refer to this tweet posted by the Argentinian football team in June 2018, which shows Farias posing with footballers Lionel Messi and Nehuén Pérez.
Postal complete of the cumpleañeros del día junto al Presidente: Leo Messi, el juvenil Nehuén Pérez y la chef Antonia. ¡Felicidades! pic.twitter.com/CC1iVX0saE
— Selection Argentina ⭐⭐⭐ (@Argentina) June 24, 2018
Lionel Messi’s mother
Even though Messi’s mother, Celia Maria Cuccittini, was photographed by AFP hugging her son at the Lusail stadium after Argentina’s win, she’s not the woman in the viral video.
Below is the AFP photo of Messi’s mother hugging him after the Argentina win:
Another AFP image shows her mother at the stadium wearing a dark blue Argentina shirt, different from the white and light blue striped Argentina shirt the woman is sporting in the viral video.
A screenshot comparing the woman seen in the misleading posts (left) and the AFP photo of Messi’s mother (right) shows that they are not the same person:
AFP had previously verified this false claim that had previously circulated in Arabic-language publications.
Messi, a genius in the pantheon of football
Messi fans across the planet and his loved ones exulted at the final whistle of the World Cup. Albiceleste’s victory on penalties (3-3, 4-2 on pens) gave Argentina their third World Cup, a new crown hoped for 36 years, and crowned Messi with a title of champion of the world, the only one missing from his impressive track record.
With this 41st trophy of his long and successful career, the most prestigious, the seven-time Ballon d’Or lands at the top of the pyramid of football monsters, up to his compatriot Diego Maradona, crowned in 1986.