Lionel Messi’s Argentina meet children needing heart surgery during Israel visit
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Lionel Messi’s Argentina meet children needing heart surgery during Israel visit

World's top footballer lands in the Jewish state ahead of landmark fixture against rivals Uruguay

Leo Messi landing in Israel
Leo Messi landing in Israel

The world’s best footballer and his Argentinian team-mates met children needing heart surgery during their visit to Israel this week.

Children from Israel and beyond met Lionel Messi and the Argentina team at a special event in Tel Aviv on Sunday night, the players giving the brave youngsters signed shirts and footballs.

The charity that brings children from places like Senegal, Ethiopia and Zanzibar to Israel for life-saving surgery and catheterisations at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, is called Save a Child’s Heart, which was set up in 1995.

Among its most prominent supporters is Canadian-Israeli philanthropist and businessman Sylvan Adams, who was behind this week’s meeting with Messi.

“The Jewish people work to save people from across the world,” he said. “I am proud to lead, alongside the best Israeli medical professionals, this extraordinary project of life-saving cardiac surgery.”

To date, the charity has treated more than 5,000 children from 61 countries and trained 120 medical staff in states such as Ethiopia. Among its major sponsors is the British Embassy in Israel.

The Argentinian team’s visit is the latest high-profile success for Adams, a keen cyclist who made aliyah in 2018. He brought the Giro d’Italia race to Israel in 2018, and bankrolled Madonna’s May 2019 appearance at the Eurovision in Tel Aviv.

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