UAE pupils meet football superstar Lionel Messi at Expo 2020 Dubai site

Messi is an Expo 2020 Dubai ambassador and met the students at Al Wasl Plaza

Ten UAE pupils met superstar football player Lionel Messi at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai on Tuesday.

Messi, who is an Expo 2020 ambassador, kicked off the meeting by leading the lucky pupils  and their teachers on a tour of the Dubai south site's centrepiece, Al Wasl Plaza. Following the tour, Messi and Expo mascots Rashid and Latifa took photos with the pupils and signed memorabilia.

The Argentinian captain has played for FC Barcelona for over 15 years and was ranked Forbes’ world’s highest-paid athlete last year.

“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,” said Messi.

“I’m delighted to be working with Expo 2020, which is putting youth at the centre of its vision and mission."

The six-time winner of the Ballon d’Or said he was looking forward to visiting the World's Fair when it opened in October.

“Like everyone, I will be thrilled to visit Expo 2020 … to see for myself the many innovations, live shows, international dishes, arts and cultures from more than 190 countries.”

Selected as part of a random draw held by the Expo School Programme, the pupils came from Australian International School, Rashid Bin Saeed School, Al Jahiz Girls School, Omar bin Al Khattab School and Al Saada School.

Expo 2020 Dubai will bring millions of international visitors to Expo City in Dubai South to enjoy the many pavilions and attractions organised by the participating countries.

The Expo School Programme will organise visits for pupils to the site throughout the six-month fair.