Messi mania: One in 70 babies born in December named Lionel or Lionela


Lionel Messi’s world cup triumph has triggered an outpouring of love and veneration for the champion as seen by the emotional celebrations, songs, and tributes. Now, one more proof arrives: According to the Civil Registry of the province of Santa Fe, one in 70 babies born in December 2022 were registered with the names Lionel or Lionela.

That number rose to 49 kids in just 30 days. Apparently, six children used to be named that way up to September. It jumped to 32 such name registrations in the months of October and November but it has escalated even more in December.

Other Argentine players from the world-cup winning team too are getting famous.

The Director of the Civil Registry of Santa Fe, Mariano Galvez, told the radio Santa Fe LT9 that “in the last weeks there were babies registered with other names of the members of the national team, such as Julian or Emiliano”. But, he added, “the most requested name is Lionel”

La Capital, Rosario’s newspaper, had an explanation about the name itself. Do you know why Messi has the name Lionel when Leonel is more common in Argentina? Blame it on Lionel Ritchie, the American singer.

La Capital reports that the Messi’s mother Celia Cuccittini chose to name her kid Lio, instead of Leonel after the musician. “When Celia became pregnant, the song “Say You, Say Me” was in fashion. And she decided that this would be the name of her son as a tribute to the singer,” the newspaper reports.

Lionel Ritchie had once told TMZ Sports about it in 2014. “They named him after me! How about that?! [My meeting with Messi] is gonna happen because I am quite honoured.

Richie even sent a message in 2016 after Messi’s penalty miss in the Copa America final.

“Yes, Lionel, just make it easy like Sunday morning. Don’t get all out of shape here. If I told you how many times I lost at the Grammies and it only made me do one thing – get better. So, I’m not even worried about my namesake – he’s going to be just fine. He’s a winner obviously. I’m sure he’s down right now but he’s a Lionel, he can’t go wrong.”


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