World Player of the Year Lionel Messi [ Images ] has become a father for the first time following the birth of his son Thiago on Friday.
"Leo Messi is a father," his club Barcelona [ Images ] said in a brief statement on their website.
"This Friday afternoon Antonella Rocuzzo, the Argentine star's girlfriend, gave birth to Thiago Messi, the couple's first son."
Messi, 25, added on his Facebook page: "Today I am the happiest man in the world, my son has been born."
"I thank God for this gift. Thanks to my family for the support. A hug for everyone."
Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images