The new Messi is born

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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has become a father after it was announced that his partner has given birth to a baby boy named Thiago Messi Roccuzzo.

The Argentinian forward skipped training today to attend the birth at a private clinic near the Nou Camp, according to reports on ESPN.

Messi's girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo, was admitted to Hospital USP Dexeus early on Friday morning, and Thiago Messi was born within sight of the Nou Camp late this afternoon, according to reports in Spain. Messi's family are yet to confirm anything officially.

But Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said he still expects Messi to be available for his side's home match against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

"Messi did not come to training as he had permission to be absent," Vilanova said. "In principle, he will be available tomorrow.

"It's a personal matter, for his family to talk about. If everything is fine, he will play. It is normal for him not to train on such an important day."

Thiago Messi is Lionel's first son, and the 25-year-old Barca forward has said he hopes his new-born becomes a Barcelona fan when he grows up.

The 2nd November was already a special date for Messi as it marks the anniversary of his first Champions League goal - against Panathinaikos in 2005 - but it takes on extra special significance now.

Messi has spent nine seasons at the Nou Camp since graduating from La Masia academy, and the Argentine has become the best player in the world, winning three consecutive Ballon d'Or awards.

And the Barcelona forward is among the favouritesto win again this year, although he faces competition from teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

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