The Italy international’s spouse gave birth to a baby boy on Monday night and Cassano decided to pay homage to the Argentina international, who is regarded as one of the best-ever footballers.
“I named my second son Lionel because of the best player in the world – Messi,” Cassano, who previously played for Barca’s arch rivals Real Madrid, told Italian TV show Undici.
“Lionel was born, he’s my Messi. I’ve given this as homage to the greatest player of all time. I named my son after Messi because I love him, on a football side.
“My wife didn’t want that name, but then I convinced her.”
Lionel Cassano was born at 2010 local time on Monday night and weighed in at 3.3kg.