Lionel Messi has become the first athlete to partner with Hard Rock International (HRI) after signing a five-year worldwide brand ambassador contract with the gaming, entertainment, and hospitality firm.
The partnership, which comes ahead of the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations, was sealed with a gift exchange that saw Messi donate a replica of one of his Ballon d’Or trophies, with HRI reciprocating with an electric guitar designed especially for Messi.
A replica of this, signed by the player, will be displayed at a Hard Rock property to be announced soon, adding to a music memorabilia collection which stands at more than 86,000 pieces.
Commenting on the new agreement, Messi said: “I am honored to partner with such a renowned brand as Hard Rock, and even more so at this historic moment – its 50th anniversary.
“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 honor to be the first athlete to partner with a brand who has a history of teaming with music legends.”
Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, added: “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.
“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.”