Ballon d’Or, World Cup Golden Ball, La Liga player of the year, Golden Boot... you would think Lionel Messi has won every award there is. But today he has received something he has never won before, something that transcends football.
The Barcelona star has received the Creu de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Cross) award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the government of Catalonia.
The award was created in 1981 to be given to people who have done outstanding work to help the Catalan people and culture.
The government praised Messi’s ability on the pitch, saying he is the best footballer in the world. In addition, they highlighted his charitable work with the Leo Messi Foundation, including helping kids get sporting equipment.
They also said he has given a lot of support to hospitals in the region, in particular for the Sant Joan de Déu hospital. He helped in that hospital’s construction of a new pediatric cancer center.