On Wednesday evening at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona easily handled fourth-place Sevilla by the score of 3-0, with Lionel Messi contributing two of the trio of goals. While Messi scoring a brace isn’t exactly breaking news, his celebrations took a left turn from the norm, and with a purpose.
After his first goal in the 28th minute put Barcelona up 2-0, Messi put two fingers to his cheek and mimiced applying facepaint to it. The gesture comes from Messi’s campaign with Barcelona children’s hospital Sant Joan de Déu, which looks to raise awareness and support for the fight against pediatric cancer.
The campaign, titled “Para Los Valientes” or “For the Brave,” has a stated, singular objective: “To beat childhood cancer.” The fundraising page for the campaign is currently at over 4 million euros, which is only about 13% of the way to the stated goal of 30 million.
Social media has rallied behind the Argentinian star, cheering him on for using his platform and the moment of his goal in order to raise awareness of the disease. His Barcelona teammate, Luis Suárez, also praised his actions after the game.
Messi is no stranger to humanitarian causes, as earlier this year he was in Egypt as an ambassador for Tour N’ Cure, a campaign promoting the African nation as a medical destination for patients with Hepatitis C.