Lionel Messi’s Save the Children campaign ‘transforms digital donations’ with Mastercard

Messi and Mastercard support Save the Children ahead of UEFA Champions League Group Stages, with video campaign on social and display.

Footballing legend Lionel Messi has kicked off a new fundraising campaign with Mastercard supporting Save the Children, reflecting on how football gave him the opportunities that many children lack in a new video.

Mastercard, in cooperation with the UEFA Foundation, is supporting Save the Children on the new initiative, which aims to help children in poverty realise their potential through football, other sports and educational activities.

Messi is joined by some of the best footballers from the UK, Italy and Spain to drive donations and support local children in each of their countries. 

Mastercard is providing the donation technology and matching donations made up to €300,000, as part of Mastercard’s Cause Enablement work. The brand says it is aiming to transform the digital donation world by making it easier for charities to connect donors to causes, with a seamless giving process.

The donation widgets will be accessible through links from the ambassador, Mastercard, and partner social media channels as well as through ad banners on and editorial. Donations will also be taken through purchases made on the official UEFA Club Competitions Online Store on

“At Mastercard, we believe in doing well by doing good. It’s vitally important to us that our technology and networks power sustainable impact,” said Jeannette Liendo, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Mastercard Europe. “We are proud of this initiative and hope it, and our outstanding ambassadors, will enable the right resources so that every child can reach for the stars.”

UK, Spain and Italy in supporting line up

Liverpool Football Club captain and England midfielder Jordan Henderson heads up the UK’s programme, which aims to help disadvantaged children aged up to 16 access free activities throughout the 2023 summer holidays. UK donations will go towards supporting 600 families and over 1,000 children in Manchester and North Tyneside.  

Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini launches the campaign next week to his fans, aiming to raise funds to allow children and young adults in the country’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods access to Punti Luce education centres. 

In Spain, international and Club Atlético de Madrid striker Álvaro Morata is driving donations to support 220 children in poverty and at risk of social exclusion. 

Caroline Whatley, Director of Partnerships at Save the Children UK said: “The number of children in poverty throughout Europe has risen dramatically over the last decade. Child poverty often limits access to nutritious food, physical activity and skills building, creating stark learning gaps and reducing opportunities in later life. Through this exciting partnership we are able to provide more disadvantaged children with the chance to play, grow and learn, allowing them to build a brighter future.”

Urs Kluser, General Secretary at the UEFA Foundation for Children, said: “This generous support from Mastercard will make a big difference for the beneficiaries of this program. It will allow more children in need to grow up healthy, to have access to education and sport, and get a chance for a better future.”