Viral video does not show Lionel Messi hugging his mother after FIFA final

The woman in the video is Argentina team cook Antonia Farías

By and

Claim: Videos on social media show Argentina captain Lionel Messi hugging his mother after his team won the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022.

Fact: The claim is misleading because the woman in the video is not Messi’s mother, Celia Maria Cuccittini, but the Argentina football team cook, Antonia Farías.

On 19 December 2022, a video went viral on different social media platforms with the caption, “Messi with his Mother after winning the final.”

The 20-second video clip shows Argentinian captain Lionel Messi emotionally embracing a woman wearing a blue and white jersey. The caption claims that the woman is his mother, Celia Maria Cuccittini.

The video went viral after Argentina beat France in FIFA World Cup 2022 final and won the title once again after 36 years.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check conducted a Google search with the keyphrases “Celia Maria Cuccittini” and “FIFA Final”. The results showed a fashion news article by Foot Wear News, published on 19 December 2022. The report states that Cuccittini supported Messi in the stands during the final, wearing a purple World Cup jersey to represent Argentina.

The article also posted an image of Cucctini with the caption, “Celia Maria Cuccittini, mother of Lionel Messi, attends the FIFA World Cup Qatar’s 2022 final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Dec. 18, 2022. CREDIT: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images.” 

A further search found another report published by The Sun. It shows a picture of an elderly woman with the Argentine footballer with the caption, “Messi enjoyed a special moment with his mother Celia Maria Cuccittini.”

Photograph of Lionel Messi with his mother after FIFA World Cup 2022 Final

Soch Fact Check also found different images of Messi’s mother supporting Argentina in the stands on Getty Images and Reuters websites.

Further investigation showed news reports published by Argentinian media outlets Los Andes and Clarin. Both articles reported that the woman in the video embracing Messi is Antonia Farías, the official cook of the Argentina football team.

According to Los Andes, Farías is the cook of Argentina team for the last 10 years and has travelled with the team regularly. Previously, she attended football events including Copa America in Brazil, and La Finalissima in Qatar. The news article also features a photograph of Farías celebrating with the team after the FIFA 2022 final and an image from Messi’s 31st birthday in which the cook is standing with him.

The Sun published this image of Lionel Messi with team cook Antonia Farias

In July 2021, she also posted images of herself celebrating with the team after winning the Copa America.

This is not the first time a false claim went viral about FIFA Qatar World Cup 2022. Soch Fact Check previously debunked false and misleading claims here, here, here, here, and here.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 7-day period from 19 to 26 December 2022 using the following search term:

  • “Messi with his Mother after winning the final”

The search term received 3,171 interactions across 19 posts on Facebook in Pakistan. It can be seen here, here, here, here, here, and here.

An organic search on Facebook showed that the video received 10,000 views and 1,200 likes. It can be found here, here, here, and here.

A Labanise-Canadian singer Karter Zaheer also shared the false video on his verified Facebook page here.

On Twitter, the video with similar false captions can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.

The video with the same false claim was also posted on YouTube shorts/reels here, here, and here and received more than 175k views.

Conclusion: The woman embracing Lionel Messi after he won the football world cup is not his mother but the Argentina football team cook Antonia Farías.

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