Lionel Messi and a host of Argentina’s top footballers joined forces for a charity match organised by Javier Zanetti on Sunday.Zanetti, captain of Inter Milan, called in his famous friends in support of his charity Pupi Foundation, which provides for impoverished children in Argentina.
Around 30,000 fans crowded into the Marcelo Bielsa Stadium in Rosario, home of Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys, to witness the spectacle, where youngsters from the foundation played in sides led by Zanetti and Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez.
Barcelona superstar and reigning FIFA Ballon D’Or winner Messi scored two goals as ‘Friends of Pupi’ lost 8-6 to ‘Friends of Maxi’.
This year’s match took place on World Day against Child Labour and aimed to raise awareness of the plight of child workers in Argentina and around the world.
Zanetti was thrilled with the level of support shown by his compatriots, saying his charity has grown beyond his wildest dreams since he was spurred into action by Argentina’s economic crisis of 2001.
“It’s more than what I imagined,” Zanetti said.
“It’s been more than 10 years that the foundation exists, and we’ve been growing by big leaps with people that always support us here in Argentina or Italy.”
“They always say they will be there, and that to us is an important support.”
Rodriguez has his own charity that helps single mothers, which will also receive funds from the match’s proceeds.