Lionel Messi's life inspires new Cirque du Soleil show hitting stage in 2019
Lionel Messi's life story will be taken to the stage in 2019 after Cirque du Soleil confirmed they will produce a brand new show inspired by the Barcelona forward.
Cirque du Soleil, the live performance company that performs around the world, has previously based shows on musical acts such as The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Argentine rock group Soda Stereo, but never before on a football player.
"The show will celebrate Messi's legacy in Cirque du Soleil's signature way, highlighting the rich culture that makes this sport the most popular worldwide," the company announced on Wednesday.
"The show will draw its inspiration from the incredible talent and accomplishments of the football legend, who embodies the unique spirit and values of his sport."
Argentina international Messi announced the partnership in a video on Cirque du Soleil's YouTube channel.
"It feels both crazy and incredible that Cirque du Soleil will create a show based on my life, my passion, my sport," he said.
"Cirque du Soleil is a family favourite of ours. I have no doubt this show will amaze people as their shows always do."
After starting out as a circus act with street performers over 30 years ago, Cirque du Soleil has gone on to become one of the world's leading theatrical producers and boast productions in close to 450 cities in 60 countries.
The spectacle by the Montreal-based company will travel the globe - there are Cirque du Soleil shows in cities ranging from Las Vegas and Tokyo to London and New York City.
Their productions usually feature daring high-wire and acrobatic stunts, as well as extravagant costumes and musical performances.
Exact details of the show will be confirmed at a later date, as will information on the tour stops which can be expected around the world.
Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old, with the Catalan club luring him from Argentina with the promise of paying to help treat a growth hormone disorder.
He has since gone on to become the club's most decorated player, winning over 30 trophies, as well as being named the World Player of the Year on five occasions.
Now 31 and Barca's all-time top goal scorer with 563 goals, he is closing on his 650th appearance for the club, with only Xavi Hernandez (767) and Andres Iniesta (674) having made more.
The captain of the Argentina national team is also putting his name to a theme park in China, which is due to open in 2020.