UNICEF on Thursday appointed Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, a global Goodwill Ambassador.
The 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year received the honour in a ceremony in Barcelona.
“While Messi’s accomplishments as a player are well known, it is his determination to use his fame to help the world’s most vulnerable children that has led to his appointment,” said a UNICEF statement.
The move further strengthens UNICEF’s association with Barcelona. Since 2006, the football club has paid the organization for the right for its players to wear the UNICEF logo on their match shirts.
“Football has given me a lot of joy and opportunities and I feel grateful to UNICEF for this chance to give support to children,” said the player. “I hope that in my role as a global Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF I will be able to help children who need our help.”
UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors seek to create public awareness of children’s issues and include Shakira, Roger Moore and Queen Rania of Jordan.