Sotheby’s will auction six jerseys that football legend Lionel Messi wore during the 2022 FIFA World Cup up for auction. Each of the six jerseys was worn by the footballer during Argentina’s successful campaign at the prestigious tournament, including the final match against France.
Sotheby’s estimates that the set of the six jerseys, which are by Adidas, could possibly become the “most valuable collection of sports memorabilia at auction” in its expected bid in excess of USD 10 million.
Messi, one of the world’s richest footballers, was the captain of his side and his heroics in every match of the tournament were instrumental in Argentina lifting the FIFA World Cup title for the third time in history. The win ensured Messi sealed his name as the greatest footballer of all time, as the World Cup was the only major prize missing from his trophy cabinet until then.
All about the auction of Lionel Messi’s World Cup jersey
When is the auction set to be held?
The auction for the FIFA World Cup jerseys of Lionel Messi will be held online from 30 November to 14 December 2023. At the time of the auction, the jerseys will be on display in a free exhibition at Sotheby’s gallery at its headquarters in New York.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to meet the needs of children suffering from rare diseases.
“The sale of these six shirts stands as a monumental occasion in auction history, offering fans and collectors a connection to Messi’s crowning achievement,” Brahm Wachter, head of modern collectibles for Sotheby’s said in a statement.
“It is an honor for Sotheby’s to present and exhibit these invaluable collectables to the public, which encapsulate the sheer brilliance of a player who has redefined the boundaries of football excellence,” added Wachter.
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Major sports memorabilia auction records
Sports memorabilia are setting high auction records lately. Sotheby’s noted that the period is a “vigorous market for sports memorabilia and collectibles, fueled by the property and unique experiences it offers.”
The current world record for any sports memorabilia is held by a jersey worn by Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Final during his renowned “Last Dance” season, which was sold for USD 10.1 million by Sotheby’s in 2022.
When considering match-worn football jerseys alone, the record is held by late Argentine legend Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” shirt. The jersey was sold by Sotheby’s for USD 9.3 million in 2022. At the time of its sale, the maximum expected bid was USD 7 million.
For Messi, who currently plays for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS), his most expensive match-worn jersey ever sold at auction was the shirt he wore as a player of FC Barcelona during the 2017 El Clásico against Real Madrid, which had Cristiano Ronaldo in the line-up.
Messi hammered two goals in the match, including a last-minute stunner that gave Barcelona the win and the Argentine his 500th career goal. The jersey went under the hammer in 2022 for USD 450,000.
(Hero and Featured images: Sotheby’s)