Predictions suggest that Lionel Messi will auction the football shirts he wore during Argentina’s winning streak at the 2022 World Cup, potentially making them the most valuable collection of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction.
Sotheby’s anticipates that the six shirts worn by the Argentina captain in Qatar, including the final against France in December 2022, could exceed $10 million (£8 million) in value.
Argentina clinched the final, securing their third World Cup title, through a penalty shootout triumph over France following a 3-3 draw, during which Messi scored two goals.
Lionel Messi will soon set a non-sporting record as well
On social media, the 36-year-old announced the auction news, declaring that he would contribute a portion of the proceeds to the Unicas Project. The Sant Joan de Deu Barcelona Children’s Hospital manages the project, which is aimed at assisting children grappling with rare diseases.
Sotheby’s sold Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey for $10.1 million (£8.1 million) in New York in September 2022, setting a new record for the most expensive game-worn piece of sports memorabilia.
Regarding football memorabilia, the current highest record for a game-worn item is $9.3 million (£7.4 million), achieved in 2022. This milestone belongs to another renowned Argentinian—Diego Maradona’s jersey worn during the 1986 quarter-final, where Argentina secured a 2-1 victory over England, marked by his infamous “Hand of God” goal.
Sotheby’s will auction Messi’s shirts from November 30 to December 14. During this period, the shirts will be on display at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York as part of a free public exhibition.
Sotheby’s has collaborated with the US-based tech start-up AC Momento, which specializes in partnering with high-profile athletes to assist in the management of their match-worn memorabilia for the auction.
Messi, presently a player in the MLS for Inter Miami in the US, a club co-owned by David Beckham, enjoyed a 17-year tenure at Barcelona, securing numerous LaLiga titles and winning the Champions League four times.