Shakira and Gerard Pique posed for this pregnancy portait to raise funds for UNICEF.

Shakira and Gerard Pique posed for this pregnancy portait to raise funds for UNICEF.

As congratulatory messages rained down on Colombian singer Shakira after the birth of her baby boy, some have wondered why he was named after an Italian soccer team that is a main rival to Barcelona, where her partner Gerard Pique is a defender.

Shakira gave birth to baby Milan in a Barcelona hospital on Tuesday, 9.36pm local time. He weighed almost 3 kilograms, with both the mother and child reported to be "in perfect health.”

In the statement, the couple and the family said "We are happy to announce the birth of Milan Pique Mebarak, son of Shakira Mebarak and Gerard Pique ... The name Milan, means dear, loving and gracious in Slavic; in Ancient Roman, eager and laborious; and in Sanskrit, unification.”

Shakira, 35, was admitted to the private Teknon clinic at 6.30pm accompanied by her boyfriend, FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, 25.

The baby was delivered by previously-scheduled Caesarean by a medical team headed by Dr Carlota Garcia-Valdecasa.

Her obstetrician had also helped Spain's Princess Cristina give birth to her four children. Shakira made the medical team promise to keep all the details about the birth secret, it has been reported.

Pique's grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, was one of those puzzled over the moniker bestowed upon the boy.
He admitted the family was surprised by the choice and confessed he had never heard of the name. "I think Milan will become fashionable," he told local radio RAC-1.

Spanish defender Gerard Piqueplays for FC Barcelona.

Spanish defender Gerard Piqueplays for FC Barcelona. Photo: AFP

The grandfather, a former director of the Barcelona club, made sure Milan was registered as a club member as soon as he was born.

Congratulatory messages poured in for the couple from both sides of the Atlantic.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was among the first to wish them the best, while the Pies Descalzos (Shoeless) Foundation for poor children set up by Shakira in 1997 sent a Twitter message saying, "The children and Pies Descalzos team are happy for Milan's birth. We love you Shakira!"

Manchester City striker Sergio "Kun" Aguero wrote on Twitter: "Welcome Milan Piqu Mebarak and congratulations to Shakira and Gerard Pique. What would you prefer as a present for the baby, a microphone or some (soccer) boots?"

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas also tweeted a welcome to the baby, saying he "can't wait to meet you".

Antonella Roccuzzo, the girlfriend of Argentine soccer ace Lionel Messi, tweeted "Welcome to the world Milan Pique Mebarak. Now Thiaguin will have a great friend," in reference to her recently-born son.

Shakira and the 25-year-old Pique have been a couple for the past two years and are regularly featured in gossip magazines and TV programs in both Europe and Latin America.

With AP