Despite Star-Studded Guest List, Messi’s Wedding Raised a Disappointing Amount of Money For Charity

Lead Photo: Lionel Messi and his partner Antonella Roccuzzo attend the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015. Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Lionel Messi and his partner Antonella Roccuzzo attend the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015. Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
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Lionel Messi’s wedding to his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo made headlines around the world, mostly for its star-studded guest list, which included some of the greatest footballers in the world, as well as some high-profile celebrities such as Shakira.

The pair asked that, instead of the usual wedding gifts, the guests donate money to the Techo organization, a charity that builds emergency houses for families in Argentina. Unfortunately, it is now being reported that–despite the cumulative wealth on display during the nuptials–the guests were not as generous as one may have hoped.

Techo tweeted out today that the donations collected would only be able to fund the building of 10 emergency homes. Of course, they were gracious in accepting the donations, but the math adds up to a low amount of donations, relatively speaking.

A statement released by the NGO on Wednesday said as much: “As it is public knowledge, in April we received the news about the marriage of a couple whose gift list was intended as donations through their guests for our work in 111 settlements of the country with families who live in poverty.”

Techo expressed its “gratitude to the Messi-Roccuzzo family for their gesture of commitment to the most vulnerable communities in Argentina. […] Faithful to our principles of transparency, we want to tell you that funds for up to now 10 emergency homes have been collected.”

The statement continued, “The donation channels will remain open since to date we have recorded some transfers from abroad that could not be successfully completed.” Each Techo house costs around 20,000 pesos to build, so the total amount raised is close to 200,000 pesos–or about $57 per person for a total of $11,386 total. Not a minuscule number, but certainly lower than what 200 wealthy individuals could have raised.

The company did acknowledge that they were not the only organization to receive donations from the wedding, as some were also given to The Natali Dafne Flexer Foundation, which helps children with cancer. “The donations received will be designated to the programs of Support to Treatment, Emotional Containment and Recreation that we offer to 1500 children and young people with cancer per month” reported that association. Still, a normal wedding present would cost somewhere near the $57 figure for non-athletes, so to see the donations barely scrape past that low bar is disheartening.

However, Messi and Roccuzzo’s wedding already provided another charitable service, as the leftover food and drink was donated to a local Rosario food shelter. Regardless of the magnitude of aid provided from the joyous occasion, it’s admirable that the couple turned their happy day into a way to help those less fortunate than them in Argentina.