lionel messi, barcelona
Lionel MessiJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty

Football museums are passé as fans look forward to explore something more unique and crazy. Something like a theme park based on the life of their favourite footballer.

When it concerns one of the greatest footballers of this generation Lionel Messi, why wait for a normal plain old school museum? Get ready for a theme park on the FC Barcelona sensation, that is set for inauguration in 2020 in Nanjing, China.

It will be known as the "Messi Experience Park".

Top investors and brands -- the Leo Messi Management (LMM), Mediapro Exhibitions, and Chinese capital company Phoenix U-Art -- have come forward to assist this project.

"Football in China is growing exponentially with the support of the authorities and Nanjing is the football capital of the country," mentioned David Xirau, the chief of MediaPro. "The project will be very large, measuring at nearly 80,000 square metres, with most of the indoor spaces being separated by a theme.

"The park will be connected to Shanghai, attracting 4-5 million visitors a year, the majority coming from tourism. It is expected to be operational in 2020 and will cost close to 170 million euros, beyond any investments needed for urbanisation."

Features planned at the Messi Experience Park:

  • You will be able to communicate with Messi, absolutely LIVE. We don't really know how, but unique cutting edge plans are in the pipeline. The fusion of virtual reality and mixed reality could make this football park one-of-a-kind.
  • Messi's journey from Rosario to his career at La Masia and the road to becoming a Barcelona legend will be showcased to all the visitors. 
  • Messi's ups and downs in career can also be experienced by his fans at the Experience Park.
  • The admission tickets are expected to be around €35, almost the same as the entry price to the Disney Shanghai.
  • There will be a lot of audiovisual productions in display and a host of robotic attractions as well.
  • There will be a lot of performance acts.
  • The park includes more than 20 attractions across 46,000m² indoor space, 12,000m² garden area and 25,000m² public spaces.
  • The park will be connected with a high-speed train link to Shanghai and there will also be built-in metro station connecting visitors to the park.

"The idea is that visitors will want to spend the whole day here," continued Xirau. "The project started as a museum, but over time, after seeing the ambition of the partners and the Nanjing authorities, we saw that we needed to make it for all ages.

"Young people don't go to museums. They want other experiences and we are offering them that. Above all, on a level of interaction."