Multi award-winning footballer Lionel Messi has on Tuesday 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 yesterday won the coveted Ballon D’Or for a record fifth time, is one of the most widely known footballers in the world. 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 Her Excellency Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi, 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 youthful 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,” Hashimi explained.

Expo 2020 Global Ambassadors will be recruited from leading figures in the sports, arts, music, culture and media, as well as international thought leaders in the fields of architecture & design, science & technology, business, economics, education, philanthropy and sustainability… see more

source: khaleejtimes