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11.03.2010 15:09

Messi, the children’s voice

Anna Segura

Argentinian star Leo Messi is a new goodwill ambassador for Unicef and from now on the Barça striker “wants to add my grain of sand” to improving the lives of children all around the world.

Leo Messi was presented in his new role in Sala Paris at midday on Thursday, with the facilities decked out for the occasion in the form of a ceremony organised jointly by Unicef and FC Barcelona in which the striker was unveiled as a United Nations representative as part of the strugglle to combat vulnerability in the lives of boys and girls all around the planet.

Leader for the young

2010-03-11_MESSI_UNICEF_011.jpgOne of the reasons why Leo Messi was named an ambassador by Unicef was because being so young, just 22, he is well poised to influence young people. The Argentinian said he’d be accepting the responsibility of “doing whatever is possible to help to make improvements. I know there are children in trouble, that are sick, that can’t eat properly, that have no education... I want to collaborate and contribute my grain of sand to improving the situation”.


One of the most emotional moments of the day came when Messi signed an agreement to undertake the role for two years and he received a badge from Philip O’Brien, the worldwide director of Corporate Partnerships for Unicef. The striker compared this moment with receiving the Balon d’Or and Fifa World Player awards. “It is one trophy more to be able to become an ambassador. I like to help and when I have had the chance I have done that and that’s why I’m joining Unicef”.

Argentina on his mind

As soon as he officially became part of the “Unicef family”, as he put it, Leo Messi has decided he would like to get a first hand vision of some of the problems around the world. Although he is busy with games and training, the Argentinian would like to find time to be closer the people most in need. His first aim is to go to Argentina, where he has his own foundation. But Messi has also said he’d like to go to places like Haiti, Chile and Africa and “be able to see how people live there”.

Guardiola and Xavi in support

2010-03-11_MESSI_UNICEF_005.jpgOn such an important day for FC Barcelona, Unicef and Leo Messi, there were plenty of other dignitaries there to witness the player become a goodwill ambassador. His coach Josep Guardiola and colleague Xavi Hernàndez were among those in Sala París. Carles Folguera, director of La Masia and somebody who has been with Messi all the way through his rise to fame, was also proud to be there.
Messi, the children’s voice

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Photograph in the Camp Nou
After the event, Leo Messi put on a Unicef shirt and went down to pitch level at the Camp Nou with a group of children, Philip O’Brien, worldwide director of Corporate Partnerships for Unicef, and president Joan Laporta. The player posed for a photo with all these people, a picture that he will surely treasure for life.

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