Lionel Messi surprises young CanTeen heroes at City Football Academy in Melbourne

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi surprises young ambassadors from adolescent cancer charity CanTeen at the City Football Academy in Melbourne.

Messi presented Georgia-Mae Mazzarella, 15, and Denis Pauguy, 19, with brand new football boots after surprising them during tour of Melbourne City’s training facility.

Georgia-Mae and Denis were presented with brand new Argentina jerseys and given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Club’s world class training facility by Melbourne City FC CEO Scott Munn.

Two young people from adolescent cancer charity CanTeen received the shock of a lifetime on Wednesday, as they were greeted by a surprise visit from Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi at the City Football Academy in Melbourne.

Teenagers Georgia-Mae and Denis enjoyed an unforgettable day, receiving a special tour of the City Football Academy from Melbourne City FC CEO Scott Munn, before their afternoon took an unexpected twist. 

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Wearing their brand-new Argentina jerseys, the teenagers were gearing themselves up for a routine kickabout on City’s elite training pitch, where they were greeted by none other than five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Messi.  

The surprises didn’t stop there, with Messi presenting both teens with a brand-new pair of football boots, and signing their new jerseys.

For Georgia-Mae and Denis, spending time with the world’s best footballer was a deserved time-out. Georgia-Mae’s sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when Georgia was 11 and she has been supported by CanTeen ever since, becoming part of the leadership group and a mentor for other young people.

Denis’ mum was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was 11. A huge football fan, he has grown up with CanTeen and is now part of their leadership group.

CanTeen is the Australian national support organisation for young people aged 12-24 living with cancer.

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About Melbourne City Football Club

Melbourne City Football Club competes in the major Australian domestic competition, the Hyundai A-League and the Foxtel National Youth League. The Club, formerly known as Melbourne Heart FC was established in 2009, inspired by a vision for a broad-based community team, celebrating cultural diversity and sporting passion through football.

Becoming known as Melbourne City FC in 2014, the Club is wholly owned by City Football Group (CFG) and plays its home games at the 30,000 capacity AAMI Park stadium in Melbourne, where the Club celebrated its first ever men’s silverware, the FFA Cup, in November 2016. Managed by Michael Valkanis, the Club’s training and administrative base is at City Football Academy, Melbourne on the campus of La Trobe University.  CFA Melbourne features advanced new training pitches for the Melbourne City first team, two elite women’s and youth team pitches, dedicated community pitches, world class medical and sports science facilities and expansive office space.  It is also CFG’s centre for football operations in the Asia Pacific region and the training and administration base for the affiliated Women’s team, Melbourne City Women’s FC which was founded in 2015 and competes in the W-League, the top division of women’s football in Australia.

About CanTeen

 We help young people cope with cancer in their family. Through CanTeen, they learn to explore and deal with their feelings about cancer, connect with other young people in the same boat and if they’ve been diagnosed themselves, we also provide specialist, youth-specific treatment teams.

By feeling understood and supported, young people develop resilience and can rebuild the foundations that crumbled beneath them when cancer turned their life upside down. That’s how CanTeen is the difference.

CanTeen works by having young people at the centre of everything we do. We were set up by a group of young cancer patients in 1985 and still have young people affected by cancer guiding the organisation at every level.

Combined with our leading-edge research into the emotional and social impacts of cancer, it ensures that we truly understand how cancer is different in a young person’s world.

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