Barcelona, Spain – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine
Soccer star Lionel Messi joins the world of Audemars Piguet and its 135 years of history. Understandably proud to be welcoming him, Audemars Piguet CEO Philippe Merk salutes the arrival of this exceptional personality who has successively overcome life’s various trials to reach the peak of his art:
“The man is simply fascinating – precisely because he has managed to develop the skills that have made him the accomplished sportsman we now know. These skills clearly extend beyond the technical sphere. He has had to find the necessary inner resources to turn adversity into an ally, since his early life was not exactly rosy. Difficulties have clearly forged his character and his intelligence. He has learned to transform his weaknesses into strengths, as confirmed by his multiple successes.”
From his earliest childhood in Argentina, Lionel Messi enjoyed kicking a ball through the streets of his hometown of Rosario. His family quickly sensed “Leo’s” potential, but when he was just 10 years old, a doctor diagnosed a hormonal disease that affected the growth of this budding player. After researching which Argentinean club could help him to develop his football career, Leo’s family enrolled him for recruitment testing at FC Barcelona in Spain. He was admitted to the Masia, the Barça training centre, which agreed to cover his training as well as his medical care expenses. In 2001, the entire family therefore left Argentina to settle in Catalonia in order to follow Messi’s first steps on the Camp Nou football pitch. Lionel Messi is currently a striker for the legendary FC Barcelona and for his national team, where he wears the legendary N° 10 shirt – the emblematic number of the world’s greatest footballers…
Such a life journey was bound to be meaningful to Audemars Piguet. The 135-year history of the manufacture has also been punctuated by many obstacles. Audemars Piguet has overcome them and in doing so as acquired the kind of competence it now sees in Lionel Messi. Keenly aware of what such knowledge entails and of the power to effect change that it encompasses, both Lionel Messi and Audemars Piguet are concerned with passing it on to younger generations in preparing for the future. Lionel Messi does so through his new “Fundacíon Leo Messi” created in 2009, and Audemars Piguet through its own foundation. This shared vision will be the driving force behind several social projects that the two partners will be jointly developing over the coming years.
As Messi explains, “I am trying to use my fame to raise public awareness of the distress of women and children around the world! You have to believe in yourself and never lose sight of your dreams… but sometimes our dreams need a little helping hand. It’s a real joy and a great honor for me to join a prestigious family such as that of Audemars Piguet, which I have long admired. This is the start of a beautiful human adventure based on strong shared values and vision.”
To Audemars Piguet “family”, Leo Messi becomes the first footballer to associate his name with that of a prestigious Swiss watch brand.