Folks who live in Lionel Messi’s hometown of Rosario, Argentina are no longer permitted to name their children after the most gifted athlete their section of the globe has ever produced. According to a Spanish News outlet, Rosario officials recently passed a law that prohibits the use of “Messi” as a first name.
Mundo Deportivo reports that the rationale for the law states that using a family name as a first name causes confusion. A man named Hector Varela recently named his newborn son Messi, which apparently inspired the passing of the law. Despite that, Varela said he is proud to have named his child after the best player in the world.
The law was likely passed to protect Messi’s legacy. As Deadspin put it, this is basically the same thing as a team retiring a player’s number. Retiring a name, however, is much more intense. Given what we know about soccer and its fans, that seems appropriate.