BARCELONA – The Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi gave three signed Barcelona shirts with his name and number to the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, as a thank you for sending 50,000 doses of its coronavirus vaccine to CONMEBOL to be used in competitions South American soccer teams, including this summer’s Copa América.
The gesture of the Barcelona footballer was announced by Gonzalo Belloso, Deputy Secretary General for Soccer and Director of Development of CONMEBOL.
“Sinovac managers expressed their admiration for Lionel Messi, who willingly sent three shirts for them,” Belloso wrote on his Twitter account.
The arrival of these vaccines “is the best news the South American football family can receive,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Domínguez commented on social media.
“It is a huge step forward in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does not in any way mean that we are letting our guard down,” he added.
With these 50,000 doses, greater safety for players is guaranteed for the celebration of the Copa América between June 11 and July 10 with venues in Argentina and Colombia after the competition had to be suspended last year for the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, Messi’s gesture with CONMEBOL improves his relationship with the highest body of South American football, very touched after the Argentine footballer in the 2019 Copa América, outraged by what he considered arbitration rulings that harmed his team , ruled that they should not be part of “this corruption.”