Argentine family given permission to name son Messi

A 1969 law in Argentina bans the use of last name as first names

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A couple have named their new-born son Messi after Argentina's soccer captain, having been granted permission to circumvent a 45-year-old law banning the use of last names as first names.

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi may be one of the highest-profile figures in Argentina but due to a 1969 statute in the South American country, proud father Daniel Varela had to petition city authorities to be granted an exception to the law.

"We told the authorities that he was our child and that we would name him as we pleased. (A civil register official) said it wasn't their problem and that I had to write a letter saying why I wanted to give him that name and pay for a stamp," Varela said.

"We did that and finally (permission) arrived," he added while the family showed off the boy's birth certificate with his full name, Messi Daniel Varela.

The new-born has an older sister who would also have been called Messi had she been born a boy.

"We have a daughter who is five years old that we were also going to name Messi but she was a girl. At last, thanks to God, Messi arrived - 15 days ago Messi arrived," said Varela who lives with his family in General Roca in the Patagonian province of Rio Negro.

Messi led Argentina to the World Cup final in Brazil in July where they lost to Germany 1-0 after extra-time at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.