Dubai: Ten lucky school students from across the UAE won a once-in-lifetime chance to meet football icon Lionel Messi, a Expo 2020 Dubai ambassador, at the Expo 2020 site.
Selected in a random draw held by the Expo School Programme, the students accompanied by their teachers met the Argentine superstar at Dubai’s next architectural marvel, Al Wasl Plaza, which will become the centrepiece of Expo 2020 when it opens its doors on October 20.
The students who met Messi came from the Australian International School, Rashid Bin Saeed School, Al Jahiz Girls School, Omar bin Al Khattab School and Al Saada School.
Messi, one of the most-decorated footballers in the history of the game, visited the site of The World’s Greatest Show of human achievement and brilliance to lead the students on a tour of Al Wasl Plaza, take pictures with them and sign souvenirs and memorabilia, including footballs and football boots. He was joined by Expo 2020 mascots Rashid and Latifa.
Messi said: “It was very enjoyable to meet and spend time with the students – their generation will provide the next superstars in sport and many other walks of life, leading us all to an optimistic new future driven by innovation, sustainability and global collaboration as will be showcased at Expo 2020 Dubai.
“I’m delighted to be working with Expo 2020, which is putting youth at the centre of its vision and mission. Like everyone, I will be thrilled to visit Expo 2020 after it opens in October to see for myself the many innovations, live shows, international dishes, arts and cultures from more than 190 countries as the world’s leading showcase of human brilliance and achievement.”
The record-breaking six-time winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or and current FIFA Men’s Player of the Year, Messi is Argentina’s all-time top scorer, and as captain of the national side, has led the South American country to three major tournament finals, including the FIFA World Cup in 2014 when he was voted best player of the tournament.