Buenos Aires: Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi was named "Rosario's ambassador in the world" during a ceremony in his native town, about 300 km from Buenos Aires.

"It's very nice that tourists come to visit the place where I was born," said 24-year-old Messi, who's currently visiting Argentina for the Christmas holidays. Messi said "it's a great pride" to receive this distinction.

"I want to thank for this acknowledgement in Rosario, my home, the place where I was born, where my people and my family live and which certainly will be my place of residence when I retire from soccer," he said.

Rosario is currently fighting to host the 2019 Pan-American Games.