FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi has become the first athlete to partner with gaming, entertainment, and hospitality firm, Hard Rock International.

In becoming Hard Rock’s new brand ambassador for the next five years, Hard Rock, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, has unveiled a new collection of merchandise inspired by Messi, available in all its stores and online shops.

In addition to the special 50th anniversary logo, the garments show some of the player’s most iconic symbols, such as the lion, the number 10 from his Barcelona jersey and Messi’s own logo.

Messi and Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, sealed the agreement with an original gift exchange, whereby the LaLiga legend offered Allen a signed replica of his golden ball in exchange for a customised electric guitar.

“Over the past five decades, the Hard Rock brand has grown to become one of the world’s most recognisable and beloved brands, with a Cafe, Hotel or Casino located in 68 countries,” Allen said.

“As we reached our 50th anniversary milestone, we knew that we needed to partner with an icon to help us celebrate in a new and unexpected way, and there was no better choice than the legendary Lionel Messi.”   

A replica of the guitar, signed by the player, will be displayed at a Hard Rock property to be announced soon.

“I am honoured to partner with such a renowned brand as Hard Rock, and even more so at this historic moment – its 50th anniversary!” Messi remarked. “Sports and music are an integral part of my life, a perfect combination between my profession and my leisure time. Uniting both is a great success, and I am very happy that they have counted on me for this special outcome. It is an honour to be the first athlete to partner with a brand who has a history of teaming with music legends.”

Lionel Messi tunes in to Hard Rock ambassadorship