Messi launches football theme park in China

Lionel Messi has launched a Disney-esque football theme park during a four-day trip to China.

The Messi Experience Park will open in Nanjing, in 2019, and will feature 20 football-themed attractions over a site of more than 80,000 sq metres.

The park – which has been funded by a group of Chinese companies – will feature highlights of Messi’s career and the Barcelona star hopes it proves inspirational to local children.

“I hope to provide them the experience they never had before and to inspire them to pick up the sport early on,” said Messi.

“Hopefully, they will feel that I am around when visiting the park.”

Messi was also asked about new Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde and conceded that he didn’t know much about the ex-Athletic Bilbao manager.

“Of course we know his past experiences, but we have never had direct exchanges and talks,” added the Argentine.

“When I get to know the coach better and his working style, our goal is always the same which is to have more achievements and to win more titles.”