First pictures of Lionel Messis new £3million mansion called The Fortress
These are the first images of the huge mansion dubbed ‘The Fortress’ Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi and his wife will now call home whenever they return to Argentina.
The monster property, built on three adjoining plots of land in a gated private estate on the outskirts of the footballer's home city of Rosario, has a huge cinema, gym and underground garage with enough space for 15 cars.
It has between 20 and 25 rooms according to Argentinian media and a part of the property, which is divided into three and includes an area which is just for guests to stay in, has yet to be finished.
Messi, 34, is said to have stayed in his new home on a private estate called Kentucky in Funes near Rosario for the first time this Christmas and ended up having to remain for an extra week after coming down with coronavirus.
Work on the property, said to have cost around £3million in the deflated local currency, began some three years ago.
Argentinian journalist Guido Zaffora, speaking on America TV programme ‘Es por ahi’ which broadcast images of the mega-mansion, said: “This is the house in Funes near Rosario where Messi did his quarantine that nobody has ever seen.
“He stayed in the house for the first time when he came back to Argentina from Paris for Christmas.
“It’s in the wealthiest part of Rosario in a neighbourhood called Kentucky. They call it The Fortress and you can see why when you take a look at the pictures of it.
“It’s been built on three separate plots of land although it’s still not finished and a part of it remains uninhabitable.
“It has between 20 and 25 rooms, a cinema which is big enough to fit both Messi and his wife Antonela Roccuzzo's families in, a gym, an underground garage with space for 15 cars, a part which is just for guests who have access to the gym and cinema, and a playroom for the children which occupies an entire top floor.”
Local reports say visitors entering the property are greeted by a giant floor-to-ceiling portrait of the back of Messi wearing the number 10 Argentina shirt in the entrance hall.
His agent father Jorge is said to have overseen building work along with architects while his son has been focusing on his football career.
Messi and his wife are said to have decorated the house with furniture from Israel, Milan and Paris.
To guard their privacy they are understood to have planted three Texas ebony trees on the edge of the property where a neighbour’s balcony overlooks their swimming pool.
Although Messi and his family are only expected to use the property as a holiday home when they return to Argentina, local press are starting to speculate they may spend some time living there on a more permanent basis when the seven-times Ballon d’Or retires from football.
The striker returned to Paris last Wednesday after testing negative for Covid following his quarantine.
It was confirmed he had caught Covid on January 2, although it later emerged he self-isolated on December 28.
The PSG star’s last Instagram post was on New Year’s Day when he said he was thankful for everything 2021 had brought him in a year in which “many people had suffered because of this s****y virus.”
Messi and his wife were filmed singing and dancing at a private party after returning to Argentina for the festive season.
The same night the 34-year-old met famous Argentinian DJ Fer Palacio.
The DJ, who was hired by Messi for the party, later went to the extraordinary length of posting his negative Covid result online after being blamed for Messi’s coronavirus.
Fer Palacio said he took the decision after being called an “assassin” by social media haters.
Despite his move to PSG from his boyhood club Barcelona, Messi still owns a home on the exclusive Bellamar residential estate in Castelldefels near the Catalan capital.
He bought the mansion for £3.5 million in 2009 and have spent more than £5million on renovations.
The property is close to the place former teammate Philippe Coutinho, now on loan at Aston Villa, was living at when he was burgled in February 2018 soon after signing for Barcelona from Liverpool.
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Last month it emerged Messi’s injured PSG teammate Neymar had splashed out £2.5 million on a new mansion in Brazil.
The 29-year-old striker picked up the keys to the £2.63 million glass-fronted palace, on a private gated residential estate in an area called Alphaville near Sao Paulo, two days before Christmas after flying to his homeland for the festive break.
His latest acquisition has been described as a seven-bed property with its own squash court, massive swimming pool, panoramic lift between floors and enough space in the garage for 20 cars.
Neymar’s other home in Brazil is a six-bed mansion near Rio with its own helipad, gym, tennis court and jetty.
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