Barcelona's Lionel Messi raises awareness to end conflict in Syria
Lionel Messi has used his position as one of the game's best football players to call for people to join together in a bid to end the war in Syria.
Wednesday marks six years since the start of the conflict and the Barcelona star, a UNICEF ambassador, has taken to social media to raise awareness of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
As recently as Wednesday there were reports that at least 30 people had been killed and dozens more wounded after suicide bomb attacks in the Syrian capital of Damascus.
"A war day is too much," Messi posted on his Facebook account.
"The children of Syria have been subjected to violence and cruelty for SIX years in a conflict that holds them hostage.
"As a father and as a UNICEF's Ambassador I am heartbroken. Add your voice to UNICEF to demand the end of the war."
Messi is the latest high profile footballer to publcily express his anguish at events Syria.
In the build-up to Christmas, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo published a video and made a donation to help fund emergency supplies in Aleppo.
In a video message posted on his official Twitter account, the Portugal captain said: "This is for the children of Syria. We know that you have been suffering a lot.
"I am a very famous player, but you are the true heroes. Don't lose your hope. The world is with you. We care about you. I am with you."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.