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02 March 2024

World Expo 2020: Barca's Lionel Messi will play for Dubai

Reem Al Hashimy, Director-General of Expo 2020, signs on Lionel Messi (Supplied)

By Staff

Multi-award-winning footballer, Lionel Messi has been announced as the first Global Ambassador for Dubai’s World Expo, taking on an international role as a champion for Expo 2020 Dubai.
Messi, who won the coveted Ballon D’Or for a record fifth time on Monday, is one of the most widely known footballers in the world, playing for Barcelona and Argentina.

With over 80 million followers on social media, and recognition levels above 85 per cent, by international survey respondents, he is one of the most influential players in modern football.

“Expos are all about focusing attention on issues of global interest and global concern to help imagine a better future,” said Reem Al Hashimy, Director-General of Expo 2020.

“What better way to do this than by recruiting allies among people who are already working towards better future outcomes?”

Expo 2020 is guided by the belief that innovation and progress are the result of people and ideas combining in new ways.

Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds Creating the Future’, the international event aims to bring together hundreds of countries and millions of people to celebrate human ingenuity.

“Lionel Messi’s performances on the football pitch bring people together, and as a result his influence reaches far beyond it.

“He is the ideal person to be our first global ambassador. He overcame health challenges to achieve his dreams of international excellence through hard work; making him an inspiration. He is perfectly placed to reach out to young people around the world, bringing them together to join us as we work towards hosting our World Expo in 2020 ” Al Hashimy explained.

Expo 2020 Global Ambassadors will be recruited from leading figures in sports, arts, music, culture and media, as well as international thought leaders in the fields of architecture and design, science and technology, business, economics, education, philanthropy and sustainability.
Ambassadors will travel the world, talking to stakeholders to explore connections between their work and that of Expo 2020, along with potential opportunities for collaboration and engagement.

The organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai will be making further ambassadorial appointments over the coming months.