Four years ago, Argentinian star footballer Lionel Messi was appointed as an Expo 2020 global ambassador. His ability to bring people together is what drove the ambitious expo to take on Messi as one of their own. 

"Lionel Messi's performances on the football pitch bring people together, and as a result his influence reaches far beyond it," Expo 2020 Dubai said at the time of his appointment. 

That influence was also the key message behind the expo's promo video. 

"The world is better when we act together" was the theme embedded all throughout the event's 2019 video campaign featuring the global ambassador. There's no doubt that the footballer connects with people in different parts of the world via the language of football. And so, in an effort to live up to the expo's message, the Expo School Program administered a random draw to select a few students to meet Messi. 

Last week, 10 lucky school students in the country won a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the footballer at none other than the Expo 2020 site. 

The students - who came from several schools across the emirate - were accompanied by their teachers at Dubai's next architectural marvel Al Wasl Plaza, which will soon become the center of Expo 2020 when its doors open in October. 

In photos shared on Instagram, the footballer can be seen signing the students' t-shirts and posing with Expo 2020's mascots. 

"I'm delighted to be working with Expo 2020, which is putting youth at the center of its vision and mission," said Messi, according to The National.

It seems as though Messi has become a UAE mascot of some sort. 

Last year, Messi was awarded a star on Dubai's upcoming Walk of Fame project. He's visited the country several times since he was first appointed as the expo's ambassador. 

In 2018, he was spotted having a bite in Dubai at the famed Nusret-Et Dubai restaurant alongside Manchester United star Paul Pogba. There, he got to meet with the restaurant's owner/chef #SaltBae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe.

But the UAE has had its eyes on Messi for a while. A year before he was named as an ambassador for Expo 2020, Messi met with Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during the Dubai Sports Conference, where he even took home a "Best Player of the Year" award