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Soccer stud and Barcelona star Lionel Messi has pledged to pay the medical bills for a 12 year-old boy who was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency (GHD), the same illness Messi experienced as a child.

The 12 year-old boy’s dream of playing professional soccer was threatened by medical costs, until Messi decided to pay for the boys medical treatment until he turns 18.

Messi also sent a message to the boy urging him to be strong.

GHD is a rare condition that affects approximately one in 3800 child births.

Next up for Messi? He’ll be in South Florida leading a team of his friends against a worldwide ensemble on June 23 at the Sun Life Stadium. The exhibition game is part of the World Soccer Masters Tour, featuring Messi and a few other international stars.

Among the players who will participate are Colombian Radamel Falcao, Uruguayan Diego Forlán of Inter Milan, Ivorian Didier Drogba, Brazilian Dani Alves, Argentine Javier Mascherano, Messi’s teammates on Barcelona; Uruguayans Luis Suárez of Liverpool and Edison Cavani of Napoli; Alessandro Nesta of 2006 World Cup champion Italy; and others.

Messi, 24, has been named world’s best player three times (2009, 2010, 2011), and in the 2011-2012 season has scored 72 goals with Barcelona, a European record.

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