Tribune News Network
A set of six jerseys worn by Argentina star Lionel Messi are to be auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York and are expected to sell for more than $10 million, various outlets reported. A portion of the proceeds will go to charity.
Sotheby’s is gearing up for its latest high-profile sports auction. The auction house will be selling soccer champion Messi’s 2022 FIFA World Cup jerseys during a dedicated sale that runs from November 30 to December 14.
The football champion wore these shirts during the first halves of the group-stage rounds against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, as well as later games against Australia, the Netherlands and Croatia - and in the legendary final against France which had finished in a3-3 draw before the penalty shootout.
Messi’s World Cup match shirts – including the kit he started iconic final against France could overtake Michael Jordan for the memorabilia world record.
The shirts are from the first half of the final, the semi-final against Croatia, the quarter-final against Netherlands, and round-of 16 match versus Australia, and two of the three group-stage games, with an estimated price of at least $10m. That would make it a record for a ‘sports memorabilia collection’.
The current record for an item of sports memorabilia is Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey from the 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 – from the famed ‘Last Dance’ season – which sold for $10 million in September of last year at Sotheby’s New York.
And the current record for a game-worn item of football memorabilia is a shirt Diego Maradona wore in Argentina’s 1986 quarter-final 2-1 victory over England, where he scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal. That sold for $9.3 million at Sotheby’s in London in May 2022.
Winning, and lifting, the World Cup last year meant Messi emulated the feat of Maradona in 1986, the previous time Argentina won the trophy.
A portion of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Déu (SJD) Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to meet the needs of children suffering from rare diseases.
The 36-year-old Messi, who currently plays for Inter Miami in the MLS, spent 17 years at Barcelona, winning Spain’s league on numerous occasions and the European Champions League on four occasions. He has won the Ballon d’Or, which is presented annually to the game’s top player, a record eight times.
But it was with his belated triumph in Qatar that cemented his place among the all-time greats Pele and Maradona.