Lionel Messi and his wife Antonela Rocuzzo smile for the camera during a day out at the beach in a never-before-seen photo taken when the Barcelona star was just ten.
The touching picture shows the childhood sweethearts enjoying themselves at Atlantic holiday resort Punta Mogotes, nearly two decades before they tied the knot.
The photo, showing the pair with other children including one of Messi’s team-mates, was taken in January 1998. Messi was playing in a youth football tournament in the nearby city of Balcarce.
Antonela, who was about to turn ten and was already a close friend of the footballer, had travelled to the area with her parents to see her cousin Lucas Scaglia – one of Messi’s team-mates.
Antonela’s parents were among the mums and dads who took the youngsters to Punta Mogotes during a day off from the boys’ football tournament.
But Messi’s mum and dad Jorge and Celia stayed in their native city of Rosario, an eight-hour drive away.
But it is going viral on social media after the work of a La Capital journalist tracking it down and publishing it.
The paper said it had taken three years to uncover the snap.
Several members of its editorial team tried to find a photo of Messi in Mar del Plata, a famous resort which most Argentinians visit at some point in their childhood.