Lionel Messi

Picture Credit: Twitter/ @FCBarcelona

FC Barcelona's star player Lionel Messi has lent a helping hand to the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) in arranging 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines for the players of the nation. The federation is planning to vaccinate all South American players before the Copa America tournament, which is set to be held this summer.

Messi's signed sweatshirts used as part of deal

As Uruguay’s president Luis Lacalle Pou was brokering a deal with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, the agreement was finally completed after Lionel Messi sent three signed sweatshirts to Sinovac, whose directors are big fans of the Argentine superstar. While it was certainly one of the most unique negotiation, it just reflects the fact that footballers can actually make a difference for a good cause, whenever required.

The continent has been hit badly by the second wave of coronavirus and the officials are trying their best to take necessary efforts to have an uninterrupted tournament in summer. Talking about the plans and preparations, CONMEBOL official Gonzalo Belloso said, “The idea is to vaccinate all of Argentina’s first division teams. We want all football players to be inoculated before the Copa América because any of them could be called to play.” The 47-year-old also thanked Messi for his valuable contribution to the federation.

Copa America 2021 to be played in June-July

The 47th edition of the South American tournament will be held in Columbia and Argentina from 13 June to 10 July 2021. The last year's edition was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Brazil are the current title-holders (having won the tournament in 2019).