Jeddah, 18 February 2020 – Ten lucky school students from across the UAE became the envy of millions of sports fans with a rare chance to meet one of the greatest athletes in the world, Expo 2020 Dubai ambassador Lionel Messi, at the Expo 2020 site.
Selected in a random draw held by the Expo School Programme, the students accompanied by their teachers met the international football superstar at Dubai’s next architectural marvel, Al Wasl Plaza, which will become the centrepiece of Expo 2020 when it opens its doors on 20 October 2020.
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.
Lionel 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.
Through the Expo School Programme, millions of visits are expected from school students from across the UAE who will experience the first World Expo ever held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, and the largest event ever held in the Arab World, when it opens its doors for six months from 20 October 2020.
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.