Lionel Messi on Grand Theft Auto?! World’s top footballers transformed into video game figures as anticipation for sixth instalment of popular series rises

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been given Grand Theft Auto makeovers as anticipation for the sixth instalment of the video game builds.


Rockstar Games’ trailer for the latest release of the hit video game got fans around the world excited, with some reacting in very creative ways. One particularly imaginative response came from X user Don Shelby, whose reimagining of the world’s greatest football stars as characters from the games went viral. Messi, who, coincidentally, now lives in Miami where the game is set, is portrayed as a quiet loner, who moodily roams the Magic City in a bomber jacket over a simple white T-shirt. Al-Nassr superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, is a suave, medallion-wearing crook sporting retro aviators.


The game has become hugely popular since it was first released in 1997, with each new edition eagerly anticipated by fans. Rockstar Games have struggled to contain with a number of leaks of footage and trailers from upcoming releases, but on the flip-side, fandom has unleashed some creativity where we are treated to images such as Golden Boy Jude Bellingham looking as relaxed on the Miami crime scene as he is on the field for Real Madrid.


Vinicius Junior, Neymar and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were among the other footballing icons to be transformed into GTA characters. Over the course of its 26-year history Grand Theft Auto, has become the most profitable entertainment product of all time. The previous edition, released in 2013, generated sales of more than $7.7 billion (£6.3bn) for the game’s publishers.


Although the game will sadly not contain any of the brilliantly re-imagined football icons when it is released in 2025, it will feature a female lead character for the first time. Whether players are given an option to watch MLS’ new star attraction, Messi, at Inter Miami remains to be seen.

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