With UEFA’s Champions League men’s final between Liverpool and Real Madrid slated for May 28, one of the soccer competition’s main sponsors Mastercard has released a spot featuring tournament winner Lionel Messi’s memories of leaving home to play for Barcelona as a boy.
The one minute 20 second spot, created by McCann, features a digitally de-aged Messi, who is a brand ambassador for Mastercard. It is the latest element of the technology and payment brand’s long-running “Priceless” platform, which began in 1997 to promote the experiences it can help provide people and the memories they can make through using their service.
During the film, which was directed by Peter Thwaites, Messi, in voiceover, relays his thoughts and feelings of making the journey from Argentina to Spain—and we see him experience the journey before the two eras are seen together at the airport when he lands.
For those who don’t know, the Argentine departed his home country to join the La Masia youth academy of Barcelona, arguably the greatest school of football in the world, at age 13.
A young Messi is seen fiddling with an airplane table and looking obviously uncomfortable, while the older version of himself can be heard saying: “I wondered, will I fit in? Will I miss what I left behind? Will they like how I play?” The boy then goes on to look at photos of his family as the plane lands and the voiceover continues: “But you know what I’ve learned? What’s priceless comes with you, as long as you do what you love.”
The two Messi’s – younger and current – then meet as the environment shifts from a crowded airport to the entry way of a stadium pitch. The smaller version of the seven-times Ballon d’Or winner then proclaims: “I love football!”, to which the PSG player responds: “I do too” as the ad comes to an end.
“We are looking forward to celebrating the global appeal of football at the UEFA Champions League final in Paris later this month and bringing fans closer to their passions,” said a representative for Mastercard.
This year’s final promises to be one for the ages, with the club who has the record for most Champions League trophies with 13, Real Madrid, taking on Liverpool, who have six and are the third most successful team in the competition.