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The Barcelona forward has become a father for the first time after his partner, Antonella Roccuzzo, gave birth to a baby boy, who is to be named Thiago

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has become a father for the first time after his girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo, gave birth to a baby boy, Thiago.

The 25-year-old was given permission to leave training this morning to accompany his partner to USP Dexeus, a hospital in the city, after she went into labour.

After several hours, the boy was born just after 17:00CET, with Roccuzzo surrounded by family and friends, including Messi's parents, Jorge and Celia.

"Today, I am the happiest man in the world," Messi wrote on his official Facebook page.

"My son was born, and I thank God for this gift! Thanks to my family for the support. A hug to everyone."

Despite becoming a father, Messi will be available for selection for the Blaugrana against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

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