Despite launching a scathing attack on the Copa America tournament recently, Lionel Messi has beaten off competition from Dani Alves and two others to claim the Balon Educativo de Scholas accolade for his performances in Brazil.
The FC Barcelona talimsan helped Argentina to a third-place finish in the tournament after La Albiceleste secured a 2-1 victory over Chile, which saw Messi get sent off and subsequently boycott the medal ceremony, owing to what he felt was corruption at the tournament.
Messi, 32, only managed to register an assist and one goal en route to securing a bronze medal, but his efforts in Brazil were seemingly enough for him to secure the Balon Educativo de Scholas accolade handed out by the Pope Francis' Scholas Occurrentes foundation.
The foundation, which has an active network across 191 countries, created the award for candidates who display the characteristics of the Scholas Foundation, such as effort, honesty, identity, resilience, respect, solidarity, and teamwork, throughout the Copa tournament.
As per Sport, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is set to be awarded a rag ball made by children from Mozambique, in addition to being blessed by the Pope.
The majority of the young people belonging to the Scholas World Network, which consists of more than 500 000 networks and educational institutions across the globe, voted for Messi.
The Barca skipper picked up a staggering 34.38% of the vote, with voting having commenced on 1 July via the foundation's official social media accounts, or at their headquarters.
Peruvian duo Edison Flores and Pedro Gallese finished in second and third place, respectively, having yielded 15.56% and 11.28% of the votes, while Copa player of the tournament Alves finished in fourth position with 10.5% of the votes received.