Forget Twitter: Lionel Messi Wants to Build a New Kind of Social Media


Lionel Messi, who is widely thought of as one of the best players to have ever played soccer — called football outside the U.S — has a new challenge in the works.

Messi was born on June 24, 1987 in Argentina. From a very young age, Messi was recognized as a prodigy. He also was born with growth hormone deficiency that was diagnosed when he was 10. The medical treatment was too expensive for his family to afford.

When Messi was presented with the opportunity to attend FC Barcelona’s youth academy at age 13, and the club offered to pay for his treatment, the entire family moved to Spain.

On the small size for an elite athlete, Messi grew to 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Playing for Barcelona, he immediately began setting goal-scoring records and winning titles.

In his first season, at age 16, he became the youngest player to score a goal for Barcelona and took the team to the under-20 World Cup title. In 2009 he led Barcelona to a treble, winning the Spanish league, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup titles.

Messi is now 35 and playing for Paris Saint Germain F.C. in France. He continues to play for his national team as well. In November, he will lead Argentina in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It will be his fifth and final World Cup, a tournament he has never won.

“There’s some anxiety and nerves at the same time,” he told Star Plus. “It is the last one.”

Messi’s Next Opportunity

Estimated to have a net worth of about $600 million, Messi is engaging in a new business venture.

He will team up with Razmig Hovaghimian of venture capital firm Graph Ventures to create a sports media holding company called Play Time. The firm will invest globally but will be based in San Francisco.

“I am excited to extend our roots into Silicon Valley, and I am thrilled that Play Time will collaborate with daring entrepreneurs from all over the world,” Messi said in a statement according to Bloomberg.

Hovaghimian is a co-founder of soccer venture Matchday which counts Play Time as its first investor. It is planned to be up and running by the time the Qatar World Cup begins next month.

“From the time I met Leo and the Messi family in 2017, it was clear that their vision for the future is bold,” Hovaghimian said in the statement. “They want to continue to have a direct and lasting impact on and off the pitch.”

A New Category of Games

On its website, Matchday describes itself as a global team of repeat founders and video game veterans that are united by their love of soccer. Matchday says it plans to develop a new category of games for soccer’s billions of fans.

“It all starts with a ball, and we unite as one,” the Website says. “Under the banner of the beautiful game. To spark real connections and pull down the barriers that hold us apart.”

“Together building a place where fans rub shoulders with the world’s greatest players. Where you define your experience. Sharing joy and passion you can’t find anywhere else,” the site continues. “Because though every one of us is unique. On Matchday, we are all the same.”



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