Leo Messi to be given prestigious Catalan award

The Barcelona striker will be recognised for his contribution to the identity of Catalonia with an award bestowed by the regional government.

Messi to receive prestigious Catalan award

Lionel Messi, Barcelona's star forward, is to be awarded one Catalonia's highest distinctions, the Creu de Sant Jordi (Cross of St. George in English).

The award was created in 1981 by the Catalan government to recognise individuals who have successfully contributed to the identity of the region.

Messi: the greatest of all time for many

Messi is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, amassing five Ballon d'Or trophies and enjoying spectacular success at Barca since making his debut in 2004.

He has won 34 major honours – more than any other player in the club's history – and is Barcelona's all-time record goalscorer with 598 goals across all competitions.

Only Xavi has made more appearances for Barca than Messi, who has played 682 times for the senior team, having first joined the academy as a 13-year-old.

Messi is expected to line up for the LaLiga champions on Wednesday when they welcome Liverpool to Camp Nou for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, with kick-off at 21:00.