Catalan Sports new site El Mundo Deportivo presented an informative article about something that is very close to the heart of FC Barcelona and Argentine International Lionel Messi (22): the work done by the Leo Messi Foundation.
‘I chose to believe’ is the slogan of the Leo Messi Foundation, which was created in the year 2007, after the blaugrana football player was moved by a visit with sick children and decided to use his image to generate funds for various educational and health projects at both a national and international level. The star of Barcelona and the Argentinean national team relates his experience:
I decided one afternoon after leaving a hospital [feeling] really emotional. There I saw the desire and the strength that a boy showed to keep going. It’s really incredible. There you realize that, even being handicapped and in a complicated situation, a ray of hope can change everything. I arrived at the hospital, and they saw me in person for the first time after seeing me on many occasions on television. Their faces changed and they began to smile by the mere fact of seeing someone well known. In situations like that you realize that if you give just a little on your part, they can believe that they really can overcome all of the obstacles there sometimes are in life.
Messi, named an Ambassador of Goodwill at an international level by UNICEF on March 11, 2010, feels pride in leading various projects for vulnerable children. “My dream was realized when I became a football player. Day to day I work and fight to maintain myself, and, today, now that I can, I choose to help so that they believe, because I so chose it,” he confessed emotionally.
The base of his various projects is meant to act in favor of children and adolescents in risky situations, and to work with other institutions that develop projects aligned with the ideals of the Foundation. One of the projects in progress is the construction of a park at the Hospital Vall d’Hebron, in collaboration with the Anima Foundation, so that the children there can enjoy themselves. Exactly, in this initiative, one of the dogmas of the Leo Messi Foundation has been fulfilled. All sponsors and entities that want to be associated with the Argentinean crack know that he does not seek economic wealth, but instead the money received will be destined for solidarity ends. An example is the jersey that Mundo Deportivo has offered its readers in 8 different sizes. The proceeds from the royalties that Messi receives from the use of his image will go directly to his Foundation, and, in this case, to fund the project in the Hospital Vall d’Hebron, which will be called the ‘Leo Messi Foundation Park.’
Among his latest projects, some in Argentina stand out, like the organization between two Foundations for a Playstation competition in Rosario, Messi’s hometown, in order to give more coverage of little-known illnesses in the society. Also, a municipal sports center in Rosario has been renovated to improve the installations and provide a better quality of education by way of sports. In addition, a football school has been reorganized, giving human and sporting development to needy children who dream of playing a sport. To the north of the province of Santa Fe, in Santiago del Estero, the Leo Messi Foundation provided for the improvement and maintaining of a school for boys and girls, as well as the collaboration in the same zone against Chagas disease, which is transmitted by insects and can cause death. FC Barcelona, UNICEF, the University of Begrano of Buenos Aires, Adidas, Konami, and Chery figure among the collaborators of the Leo Messi Foundation, and the blaugrana star always intends to make his sponsors aware that they can be associated with his projects in order to feel a part of the slogan. And all can choose to believe.