Barcelona , Monday May 17th 2010 – 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.
A legendary man joins a legendary brand:
Lionel Messi, the new Audemars Piguet icon
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…
He is undeniably gifted with an amazing set of qualities. He handles the ball with incredible skill and dribbles his opponents with disconcerting ease. Messi is a complete, fast and creative player with a smart sense of the game that is universally recognised by his peers. In 2009, this determined and passionate young man was rewarded by a string of titles and distinctions: FIFA 2009 World Player of the Year, the 2009 Golden Ball award and Player of the Spanish League (along with team successes with FC Barcelona, such as the 2006 and 2009 UEFA Champions League, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup and Spanish League).
"Lionel Messi is an exceptional man, the greatest player of his generation. This young and talented athlete not only embodies pure sporting genius, but also the courage and the determination of a man who fights against all odds to pursue his dreams. Above and beyond his intrinsic value, we are welcoming a big-hearted man with valuable human qualities into the Audemars Piguet family", said Philippe Merk.
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 ."
Discreet, humble and committed, as of 2010 he is serving as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
In its undisputed leadership role within the field of Haute Horlogerie, Audemars Piguet naturally surrounds itself with strong and powerful personalities embodying excellence and daring in their own field – be it sport, art, or technology. These partnerships owe nothing to chance; they serve to reaffirm the authentic values conveyed by the Manufacture and centred on the passion for exceptional watches and the expertise they enshrine.
Lionel Messi and Philippe Merk
Such is definitely the case for Lionel Messi, who has found a prime partner in Audemars Piguet: "It's a real joy and a great honour 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 visions ". Friends of the brands will thus enjoy the tremendous privilege of rubbing shoulders with him at various exclusive events. In joining the Audemars Piguet "family", Leo Messi thus becomes the first footballer to associate his name with that of a prestigious Swiss watch brand.
So hats off to Mr. Messi, who at the tender age of 22 has managed to achieve a subtle balance between daring and wisdom. We can safely bet that the up and coming generations will acknowledge him as a valuable role model!
Founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in the Swiss village of Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet is the oldest Manufacture of Haute Horlogerie never to have left the hands of the founding families. Today, its range encompasses complex mechanical watches, Haute Joaillerie creations as well as a line of Jewellery. At each stage in its history, the Manufacture has daringly adopted avant-garde techniques in order to place them in the service of traditional craftsmanship. This approach has earned it an unparalleled number of world firsts in the field of Haute Horlogerie.
Name: Lionel Andrés MESSI
Place of birth: Rosario
Date of birth: 24-06-1987
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 67 kg
Current club: FC Barcelona
Position: Attacker (winger/second-striker)
Achievements to date
Titles with FC Barcelona:
2009-10 Spanish League (Liga)
2008-09 UEFA Champions League
FIFA Club World Cup
Spanish League (Liga)
2006-07 Spanish Supercup
2005-06 UEFA Champions League
2005-06 Spanish League (Liga)
2005-06 Spanish Supercup
2004-05 Spanish League (Liga)
International Titles with Argentina:
2004-2005 Under-20 World Champion
2008 Gold medallist at the Beijing Olympic Games
2009/2010 European Golden Shoe
2009 named FIFA World Player of the Year
2009 winner of the Golden Ball award
2006-07-08-09 named Player of the Year by World Soccer
2009 named in the "World XI of the decade" line-up published by The Sun
2009 best-ranked footballer on the list of sports champions of the decade published
2009 named Best European Player by El País