While it’s unknown what team soccer legend Lionel Messi will suit up for after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires this year, his next off-field project has been announced.
We now know Messi will be the latest athlete to get the Hollywood treatment. The World Cup champion is collaborating with Sony Music Entertainment to create an animated children’s series.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved animated series and my kids are big fans of animated characters,” Messi said, according to Deadline. “Being able to participate in an animation project makes me happy, because it fulfills one of my dreams. I would like to thank Sony Music for joining this project, and we hope that everyone will like the result, especially the girls and the boys.”
The show will feature a young Messi traveling through a video game and overcoming obstacles, according to Deadline.
It has not yet been announced what network or streaming platform the series will call home, but it will be produced in both English and Spanish.
“It is a privilege for Sony Music to collaborate with Lionel Messi on this project to showcase the power and lessons of sports in partnership with the greatest football player of all time and one of the greatest athletes in history,” Fernando Cabral, an executive vice president at Sony Music Entertainment, said, per Deadline. “We look forward to bringing this heartwarming and humbling series to screens for audiences of all ages around the world.”
The new show won’t be Messi’s first video game-related project. Last year, he collaborated with PUBG Mobile on a “collection of in-game outfits and other items” for the battle royale game, GameSpot reported.
In November, Messi won his first World Cup. He holds the records for the most World Cup matches and minutes played in the World Cup, according to FIFA.
Messi has scored 799 goals for his club teams and the Argentina national team. He is one goal shy of becoming the second player to score 800 goals, ESPN reported. He is also the only player to win the Ballon d’Or, which is awarded to the best player in a year, seven times.
Athletes to get the film and TV treatment
Messi isn’t the only athlete to get their own animated television series or movie. In 1996, Michael Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny and the “Looney Tunes” for “Space Jam.” The idea came from the success of a Nike Super Bowl commercial featuring Jordan and the cartoon rabbit, according to Entertainment Weekly.
LeBron James starred in the film’s 2021 sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” The cast included NBA and WNBA players Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, A’ja Wilson and Nneka Ogwumike, according to IMDb.