Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has been named as the first global ambassador for Expo 2020 Dubai.

The world football of the year award capped off a fine 12 months for Messi, who also won club trophies with Barcelona in La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Champions League, European Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup.

Messi’s new role will see the Argentine help promote Expo 2020 Dubai on the international stage.

Reem Al Hashimy, director general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Lionel Messi’s performances on the football pitch bring people together, and as a result his influence reaches far beyond it. He is the ideal person to be our first global ambassador.

“He overcame youthful health challenges to achieve his dreams of international excellence through hard work; making him an inspiration. He is perfectly placed to reach out to young people around the world, bringing them together to join us as we work towards hosting our World Expo in 2020.”

Following Messi’s appointment, organizers of Expo 2020 Dubai have said there will be other global ambassadors named in the near future.