Lionel Messi‘s move to Paris Saint-Germain has sent shockwaves through the world of sport.
But the Argentine footballer’s decision to leave Barcelona for the French capital marks just not a major lifestyle change for him, but for his whole family, too.
His wife Antonela Roccuzzo, 33, and their three sons Thiago, eight, Mateo, five, and Ciro, three, were by Messi’s side as he arrived in the city yesterday morning to sign the two-year deal.
Now Mr and Mrs Messi, who have been together since childhood, must put down roots, from finding a school for the children to working out where to live.
Settling into the City of Light: Lionel Messi has moved to the French capital with his wife Antonela, pictured, and their sons Thiago, eight, Mateo, five, and Ciro, three
On their way! The couple posed for a photo in a private jet on the way from Barcelona to Paris
Making himself at home: With Messi, 34, busy doing media interviews announcing his arrival – he gave a press conference earlier today (pictured) – and starting work at PSG, it is likely the lion’s share of the work will fall to former model Antonella
With Messi, 34, busy doing media interviews announcing his arrival – he gave a press conference earlier today – and starting work at PSG, it is likely the lion’s share of the work will fall to former model Antonella.
Fortunately money is no object for the mother-of-three, thanks to Messi’s take-home salary of 35million euros a year.
So what can Mrs Messi expect from life in Paris?
From the PSG WAG tribe to the city’s newest must-visit shopping destination, FEMAIL imagines how she might spend her time…
Infiltrating the PSG WAGs
The PSG glossy posse: Brazilian blogger, singer and reality TV star Carol Cabrino (left, left image) is married to PSG captain Marquinhos, 27. Right, Sergio Ramos’ wife Pilar Rubio
As the wife of Barcelona’s biggest star, Antonela must have found it easy to make friends at her husband’s former club.
The couple were well-established in the city and saw countless players – and their partners – come and go, including Cesc Fabregas and his wife Daniella Semaan, who is part of Antonela’s inner circle.
Now Antonela must get to know a new tribe of glamorous wives and girlfriends.
Among them is Brazilian blogger, singer and reality TV star Carol Cabrino, who is married to PSG captain Marquinhos, 27.
Parenting in Paris! Carol shares a three-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son with Marquinhos (pictured) so will be well-placed to give Antonela tips on parenting in Paris
Newbie: Gianluigi Donnarumma is moving to Paris with his girlfriend Alessia Elefante
She shares a three-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son with the footballer so will be well-placed to give Antonela tips on parenting in Paris.
The three young Messi boys could have ready-made playmates in Sergio Ramos’s four sons: Sergio Jr, seven, Marco, five, Alejandro, three, and one-year-old baby Maximo.
Ramos, 35, shares his sons with Spanish-born Pilar Rubio, 43, who worked as a TV presenter and reporter before meeting her footballer husband.
Like Antonela, Pilar is a fan of keeping fit so the pair might well find themselves popping out to an exercise class together.
Choosing a school for their sons
New school: The Messis will be finding a school for sons Thiago, eight, Mateo, five, and Ciro, three, ahead of the start of the school year. Fortunately there are plenty to choose from
With two sons of school age, finding the right fit before the start of term will no doubt be a priority for the Messis. There are no international schools offering the Spanish curriculum in France, so it might mean a change in teaching for the boys.
Among the most popular with Paris’s elite is the Ermitage International School of France, which is the country’s most expensive school with fees of up to 40,990 euros a year.
As one might expect from such a pricey school, students have the option of a wide range of extracurricular activities including fencing, rowing and tennis.
It has the benefit of taking 1,400 students aged three to 18, meaning Mr and Mrs Messi would only have one stop on the school drop-off.
The bilingual École Jeannine Manuel also takes students from the age of three but is split between three campuses across the city. Known for its ‘very high academic standards’, according to the Good Schools Guide, older students can choose to take the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
There are also a number of high performing state schools, including the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand.
Five-star staycations and Michelin-starred meals
Date night: There is no shortage of luxury in Paris and the Messis (pictured at New Year’s) will be spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner reservations or a city staycation
Luxury: Les Ambassadeurs at the Hôtel de Crillon, which serves up sophisticated cocktails to well-heeled travellers. The five-star hotel is one of the finest in the city
There is no shortage of luxury in Paris and the Messis will be spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner reservations or a city staycation.
Among the top picks is the Hôtel de Crillon, which overlooks the Place de la Concorde.
The most expensive accommodation at the hotel are the three apartments, which cost 7,000 euros a night.
Downstairs there is a heated underground swimming pool and a choice of restaurants and bars, including Les Ambassadeurs which serves up sophisticated cocktails to well-heeled travellers.
There is also Hotel Lutetia, which underwent a 200 million euro revamp in 2019 and which, like the Crillon, carries the prestigious ‘palace’ rating from the French Government, which distinguishes 11 of Paris’s five-star hotels above their rivals.
Fine-dining: There is even more choice when it comes to fine-dining – Paris is second only to Tokyo in the cities with the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants. Pictured, L’Ambroisie
If the Messis didn’t fancy either of those for a night away from the children then the exquisite Mandarin Oriental, La Réserve Hotel & Spa, Hotel Bristol and Four Seasons George V are also on their doorstep.
There is even more choice when it comes to fine-dining – Paris is second only to Tokyo in the cities with the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Ten hold the coveted three-star rating, including Pierre Gagnaire, which offers a 335 euro set menu for two and L’Ambroisie, the city’s longest-running three-star establishment.
Where to shop ’til she drops
Style maven: Antonela, pictured on Instagram, will have no shortage of places to shop in Paris
New addition: The Samaritaine department store has reopened after more than 15 years following a 500 million euro renovation by new owners LVMH
As the home of Chanel, Balmain and Givenchy, Paris is still the fashion capital of the world.
The ‘golden triangle’ of the 8th arrondissement is a must for any affluent shopper, with Balenciaga, Dior and Hermès making it a luxury hub.
On the corner of the Champs-Elysées and the avenue George V is the world’s largest Louis Vuitton store, which occupies a five-storey Art Deco building that is visible from both ends of the avenue.
It is a must for any LV super fan and is stocked with everything from the brand’s homeware and jewellery to its traditional leather goods.
The most recent big-name addition to the Paris shopping scene is the Samaritaine department store, which has reopened after more than 15 years following a 500 million euro renovation by new owners LVMH.
The Art Deco building, which overlooks the Seine, is now home to everything from high-end labels to emerging designers and will be top of any list for any fashionista in the city.
Finding the perfect home
Home sweet home! Like any self-respecting millionaire, Messi owns several properties around the world, including a six-bedroom apartment in Paris’ chic 16th arrondissement. Stock image
Like any self-respecting millionaire, Messi owns several properties around the world, including a six-bedroom apartment in Paris’ chic 16th arrondissement.
The family reportedly bought the sprawling city pad for over 8 million euros in 2016 and it might now prove the perfect place to live while getting settled.
The apartment is in the Villa Montmorency, the Daily Telegraph reported, a historic mansion converted into a number of luxury flats with a shared garden.
Celebrities including Lenny Kravitz live nearby, so the footballer wouldn’t need to worry about star-struck neighbours stopping him on the street.
Although six bedrooms would seem like more than enough space for any normal five-person family, it is possible Lionel and Antonela will want a little more space for theirs.
One option is to follow the lead of Messi’s new teammate and close friend Neymar, who lives in a five-storey, 10,800 sq ft mansion in the upmarket suburb of Bougival, to the west of the city.
The area is just a stone’s throw from the PSG training ground, which would cut down on Messi’s morning commute. It also has serious star pedigree, with fellow footballer Ronaldinho and actor Gerard Depardieu previously calling Bougival home.