Thanks to his charity work, Messi has won several off-the-field awards over the years.
- UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador (2010)
Leo Messi has contributed his time and money to the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) since 2004. And in 2010, he was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. The Argentine's first field mission was in Haiti, as he travelled to raise awareness to the plight of the local children in the light of a recent devastating earthquake.
UNICEF official website says that Leo's "personal childhood experiences have been the driving force behind his commitment and desire to help vulnerable children and to engage in charitable activities."
Messi during his mission in Haiti
Since then, the 33-year-old has participated in various UNICEF campaigns, targeting HIV prevention, education, and the social inclusion of disabled children.
- Distinguished citizen of Rosario (2011)
Through his charitable organisation (the Leo Messi Foundation), the Barcelona captain supports his native city of Rosario, investing in the development of medical centres, awarding research grants and more. He also invested in youth football in Argentine, as he financially supports Sarmiento, a football club based in his native neighbourhood in Rosario. As a result, he was named as a Distinguished Citizen of Rosario in 2011.
- Rosario's Ambassador of the world (2011)
As one of the most notable persons born in Rosario, he was named as the city's Ambassador to the world in 2011.
"I want to thank for this acknowledgement in Rosario, my home, the place where I was born, where my people and my family live and which certainly will be my place of residence when I retire from soccer," Leo said during the ceremony.
Messi during the ceremony
- Champion for Peace 2020
Peace and Sport is an independent organization that aims to take concrete action to build peaceful communities through the power of sports, and create a "safer, more equitable and inclusive world."
"On behalf of Peace and Sport, I would like to warmly congratulate Lionel Messi on becoming the Champion for Peace 2020! It is a great honour to welcome Lionel Messi into our Champions for Peace club. This award rewards not only his fair play, respect and tolerance on the football pitch but also his commitment to children’s rights. These are values that make him a role model and can pave the way for a fairer and more inclusive society," said Joel Bouzou, the organization's president and founder.
Messi with the Champion for Peace of the year award
- International Values Prize 2020
Messi received the 'International Values' prize from Diario Sport and Prensa Iberica for his charity work in 2020. The Catalan outlet highlights his help to the hospitals in Barcelona and Buenos Aires during the pandemic, as well as his donations that help fight child poverty and hunger in Africa.
"I am used to receiving awards for my victories, for my titles or for my records as a player, that is why this recognition for my values as a person is so special," Messi said upon receiving the award.
Messi with the 'International Values' award