BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Leo Messi is one of the best soccer players in history. Born in the city of Rosario, Argentina, he moved to Spain as a young teenager to play for Barcelona FC where he was also able to get treatment for a growth hormone deficiency problem he had since he was a child. It was in Barcelona where he started to thrive and grow to be the player we all know today. He has since amassed a fortune playing soccer and being sponsored by some of the world’s biggest brands such as Adidas and Huawei. The Leo Messi Foundation is his way of giving back by helping children around the world.
The Leo Messi Foundation
Leo Messi has always remembered his origins as well as all the help he had from others when he struggled as a kid and a young adult. This is why, in addition to working as a UNICEF ambassador, he created the Leo Messi Foundation in 2007. The foundation is a charity organization that focuses on children’s healthcare and education.
Since its creation, the Leo Messi Foundation has invested in research for fighting diseases like childhood cancer, providing infrastructure to Spanish hospitals and promoting education and sports. The foundation is also associated with the Special Olympics committee to normalize and encourage practicing sports for children with disabilities.
Leo Messi is very vocal about his charity work. Although he is known to be a shy person, he makes an exception for ads that raise awareness about certain social issues that he is concerned about. He even celebrated his son Thiago’s first birthday by working with UNICEF and talking about preventing child mortality. He also donates part of his salary to charity, donates his soccer gear or uniforms for fundraisers and auctions and has organized several matches called “Friends of Messi”, giving all the proceeds to his foundation.
Messi’s Global Impact
Ensuring that children can grow and develop well is a recurring theme in Messi’s philanthropy. The Leo Messi Foundation collaborates with UNICEF frequently, donating money and resources to different projects. In 2016, the organization helped children affected by the war in Syria to get back to school by building prefabricated classrooms and provided school supplies and books for students. The foundation also donated 200,000 euros for a water pump in Kenya along with nutritional supplements to fight child malnutrition in the area.
Having dealt with his own health issues and the financial struggles that they brought with them made Leo Messi aware of the issues children can face. He has focused on helping children in need to cover their medical concerns. The Leo Messi Foundation works alongside hospitals and clinics in both Argentina and Spain, making several donations to them whether for specialized equipment, to treat patients with gastrointestinal problems in his hometown or to provide resources to research rare diseases in Spain.
Sports and Values
As an athlete, he also acknowledges the importance of sports in a person’s life. It not only develops someone physically but also teaches them values and discipline. This is why the Leo Messi Foundation has invested in and built several sports fields and playgrounds in underdeveloped cities and towns in Argentina as well as advocated for the eradication of violence in the world of sports.
Leo Messi will continue to score many goals for both Barcelona and the Argentinean national teams. But, his kindness, philanthropy and humility are also some of the things that make him stand out on and off the field. Even though one player cannot win a match by himself, Messi is sure to put in all his effort and collaborate with the right teams in the fight towards world poverty, inspiring many others to join him as well.
– Luciana Schreier