Marcus Rashford splits from childhood sweetheart of eight years after lockdown strain

MARCUS Rashford has split from school sweetheart Lucia Loi after eight years together.

She was with him as he made his name with Manchester United and England.

Sources say the pair, both 23, broke up amid lockdown pressures but still have a “mutual love and respect”.

Anti-child poverty campaigner Marcus is said to be devastated following his split from PR executive Lucia.

Lucia has moved out of the Manchester United forward’s plush pad.

But pals say the split — which did not involve anyone else — was amicable.

The pair are still keeping in touch and there are even hopes they might get back together if they can work through their issues.

Friends blamed the breakdown on the pandemic forcing Marcus and Lucia, both 23, to spend too much time together.

A source close to the football hero said last night: “After eight years together, Marcus and Lucia have made the mutual decision to part ways.

“It is a result of the pressures and strains of the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, and the confinement that has brought with it over the last 12 months.

“There is a strong mutual love and respect for one another, having met at school, and there is a continued dialogue with the hope of a reconciliation in the future.”

They first fell for each other at Ashton on Mersey School in Sale, Greater Manchester.

Marcus — made an MBE in the Queen’s Honours list last year — has recently devoted much of his time to charity work on behalf of underprivileged children.

Last year, he helped raise £20million for kids to receive free school meals during the pandemic.


His campaign resulted in the Government providing summer vouchers for 1.3million children eligible for free school meals.

Then he prompted Boris Johnson to agree to provide £400million of support to poor children and their families in a winter grant scheme.

Marcus — who relied on free school meals during his tough upbringing in Wythenshawe, Manchester — said it would improve the lives of 1.7million.

He has spoken to the PM about child poverty issues on several occasions.

And in February he led attacks on a company providing measly school meal parcels.

The source said: “Marcus has had so much going on, with his football and campaigning and people wonder whether that contributed to the situation with Lucia.

“She has supported everything he has done on child poverty but it has added to his workload.

“Maybe, after a break, they will be able to work things out and get back together.”

Marcus broke into Manchester United’s first team in 2016 when he was just 18.

He celebrated scoring two goals on his debut by playing pool in the common room of his and Lucia’s former school.

Two years later, Lucia was seen supporting Marcus and his England teammates at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Sporting a Three Lions shirt with Rashford printed the back, she watched from the stands as England beat Sweden in the quarter-finals, in a match where Marcus came on as a sub.

And she posted a selfie — again in an England shirt — from the stands as the team lost to Croatia in the semis, with Marcus again coming on from the bench.

After the tournament, the couple jetted to Barbados and were pictured on a jet-ski together off the west coast of the Caribbean island.

Last July Lucia, who worked for Manchester-based PR company Sugar, graduated in Advertising and Brand Management with first-class honours.

She has also carried out charity work in Zambia, helping to host educational and sports classes for impoverished children. And she has previously done charity work in Sri Lanka.

Lucia and Marcus did not talk about their relationship publicly. And she removed an Instagram snap of Marcus taken to celebrate his birthday in 2016.

In online biographies, Lucia says she loves “fitness, art and cooking” and also enjoys travelling.


Marcus has scored 19 times for United this season, including in their 4-2 defeat to Liverpool on Thursday.

He has helped the Red Devils qualify for next season’s Champions League and reach the final of the Europa League in Poland on May 26.

He is also likely to play for England in this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 tournament, which will see some games — including the final — played in the UK.

The pair are said to have split three months ago.

Speaking about his food campaigning last month, Marcus said help during the summer holidays would have made a “massive difference” to his family.

He added: “Is it fair if people go hungry? No, it’s not.”

Marcus — the youngest of five siblings brought up by single mum Melanie — then received a special award at last December’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year for his tireless campaigning.

He has also set up his own book club, with publisher Macmillan Children’s Books.

In an interview with The Sun, he said: “I wasn’t to know that it was a normal thing for somebody to be read a bedtime story.

“I only started reading books when I was 17 and it completely changed my outlook and mentality.”

Friends say that Lucia loves travelling and is passionate about helping others.

A source added: “She’s very good at her PR job because she’s got a great personality so things like networking and events organising come naturally to her.

“She gets on really well with all of her colleagues.”

She is said to have been “very supportive” of Marcus’s school meals campaigning but has kept out of the spotlight and tried to keep their relationship private over the years.

A separate source said: “Marcus may want to get back with Lucia.

"But if that does not happen, I am sure neither will stay on the shelf for long.”

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