Exception to the rule: The first baby named 'Messi' OK'd in Argentina

The first baby to be named "Messi" has been born in Argentina, and he will likely be the last.

After a legal battle lasting almost two weeks, Hector Varela of the southern city of General Roca has circumvented Argentine law and received permission to baptise his son as Messi Daniel Varela.

Why the tough fight? Argentina has a long list of laws that prevent people from going all willy-nilly when naming their children, in particular Article 3.3: "Los apellidos como nombre" -- prohibiting the use of surnames as first names.

But Varela asked for a special permit to name his child after his football idol, and somehow received permission from the Black River Civil Registry to accept the name "Messi."

As might be expected, this set the nation's bureaucrats scrambling.

In Messi's hometown of Rosario -- 1,100 kilometers to the north and much closer to the capital Buenos Aires -- officials were worried the Varela baby would set a precedent and they'd be hit with an flood of "Messi" requests. Not so fast.

The head of the civil registry of Rosario's Sante Fe province, Gonzalo Carrillo, curtly reminded the populace that, "Using surnames as first names is prohibited by law because it can cause confusion."

After all, we wouldn't want things to get "Messi," would we?