LIONEL Messi is a unique sportsman and an example of how willpower and constant work yield good results, says United Nations World Tourism Organisation secretary general Zurab Pololikashvili.
In a statement issued in Madrid by UNWTO senior media officer Marcelo Risi during the appointment of Messi as Ambassador for Responsible Tourism, Pololikashvili said Messi joins other well-known personalities in promoting the positive values and benefits that tourism represents.
“Messi is a unique sportsman and an example of how willpower and constant work yield good results. It is a great honour to have Messi joining UNWTO…,” Pololikashvili said.
The UNWTO added that Messi, considered by many the best football player of all time, joins the World Tourism Organization to promote the value of responsible tourism.
The UN agency in-charge of tourism further added that Pololikashvili appointed Messi as UNWTO Ambassador for Responsible Tourism on Saturday at Camp Nou in Barcelona, after the Barcelona vs Leganés FC match.
The UNWTO described Messi as an example of talent and constant work in football.
“Messi is admired all around the world not the least due to the positioning he brought to the FC Barcelona in recent years, team with which he won a total of 30 titles, including eight Spanish Leagues, four Champion Leagues and five Kings Cups of Spain,” the UNWTO added.
Messi in his acceptance speech said during his travels, he has had the opportunity to know other cultures and societies as well as other ways to see the world and that this is very enriching.
“The World Tourism Organisation as a specialised agency of the United Nations works to make tourism a source of development and I am happy I can join this mission of promoting responsible tourism,” said Messi.
Messi is the first football player in history to win five Ballon D´Or – the first four won consecutively – and four European Golden Shoes.
He joins the Spanish football player Fernando Hierro and Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque, as the first personalities that UNWTO has appointed to advance the links between sports and tourism and promote the transformative power of responsible tourism.