The woman who was seen in an emotional embrace with Lionel Messi following Sunday’s World Cup Final has been revealed to be chef Antonia Farias.
Much speculation had gathered on who the mystery woman was, with some believing it was a member of Messi’s family given the tenderness of the hug. However, reports in Argentina state she is an employee of the national team.
Footage emerged of Farias wearing an Argentina shirt, approaching Messi in the post-match celebrations after Argentina’s penalty shoot-out victory of France.
Messi’s face lit-up as he saw Farias and she wrapped her arms around the national team skipper as the pair enjoyed a tight celebratory hug.
According to Argentine newspaper Clarin, Farias has been a chef with La Albiceleste for the last decade and regularly travels with the squad.
She was part of the set-up during last year’s COPA America and Finalissma win at Wembley, and travelled to cook for the team in Qatar for the World Cup – four years after doing the same in Russia at the last finals.
The chef is said to be well loved by the squad, both for her culinary skills and attitude around the camp. So much so, she was presented with a birthday cake whilst they were in Russia alongside Messi’s own special day.
Messi was also joined on the pitch in the celebrations by his wife Antonela Roccuzzo and their sons, with each posing and taking turns to kiss the famous World Cup trophy.
However, one congratulatory face wasn’t met with quite the same enthusiasm by Messi, that of another cook, Turkish ‘celebrity’ chef Salt Bae.
The 39-year-old, who found fame online, was somehow allowed on the pitch after the trophy presentation and desperately tried to get the Argentina’s skipper attention.
However, Messi pretty much blanked Bae’s advances and carried on enjoying the moment he’d spent the last month dreaming about happening.
Messi and Argentina were today greeted by thousands of Fans in Buenos Aries as the returning heroes paraded the World Cup trophy around the country’s capital city.