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Lionel Messi is getting his own theme park

By
Alex Butler
FC Barcelona's Argentinian striker Lionel Messi during a news conference on Thursday in Beijing, China. Messi arrived in China to attend an event related to the Messi Experience Park. The park is to be built in Nanjing and will be the largest theme park in the world dedicated to soccer. Photo by Roman Pilpey/EPA
FC Barcelona's Argentinian striker Lionel Messi during a news conference on Thursday in Beijing, China. Messi arrived in China to attend an event related to the Messi Experience Park. The park is to be built in Nanjing and will be the largest theme park in the world dedicated to soccer. Photo by Roman Pilpey/EPA

June 5 (UPI) -- The Messi Experience Park (MEP) theme park will open in 2019 in Nanjing, China.

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was in Beijing Thursday to announce the new amusement park.

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"I hope to provide [the visitors with an] experience they've never had before and to inspire them to pick up the sport early on," Messi told reporters at the announcement, according to ESPN. "Hopefully, they will feel that I am around when visiting the park."

The park "focuses on the most advanced technology to immerse visitors in the Messi universe by combining state-of-the-art attractions with spaces for practicing the king sport, thanks to the greatest advances in multimedia content and attractions And forming a great natural environment to enjoy football," according to a press release.

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The MEP will have more than 20 attractions and has been under development for more than two years. It will also have areas for visitors to practice their soccer skills. Messi's theme park will have a 150,000 square-foot indoor facility and 40,000 square-feet of playing fields. It has 82,000 square feet of public space.

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Messi, 29, is worth $280 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He has a base salary of about $44.6 million.

But the Argentinian star might not be on Cristiano Ronaldo's level when it comes to off-the-pitch honors. Ronaldo was recently named as the cover star for FIFA 18. He also has an airport named after him, his own museum and several statues in Portugal. Ronaldo's latest statue is a bust of his face, which has very little resemblance to the Real Madrid sensation.

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The MEP will be the largest theme park in the world dedicated to soccer.

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