Six jerseys donned by soccer legend Lionel Messi during Argentina’s triumphant journey in last year’s World Cup have been sold for a staggering $7.8 million, disclosed auction powerhouse Sotheby’s.
Each jersey, worn by Messi in the first halves of Argentina’s matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, fetched the highest price for sports memorabilia this year, Sotheby’s confirmed.
Argentina secured a historic victory over France in a penalty shootout following a thrilling 3-3 draw in the World Cup final, marking their third World Cup win. This monumental win, where Messi netted two of Argentina’s three goals, stood as a defining moment for the maestro, hailed as one of football’s all-time greats.
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of modern collectibles, emphasized, “These historic shirts are not only a tangible reminder of one of the most important moments in the history of sports but are principally connected to the pinnacle moment in the career of the most decorated football player in history.”
The jerseys were showcased at Sotheby’s New York headquarters throughout the two-week online auction that concluded recently. Details about the winning bidder were not disclosed.
A portion of the proceeds from the auction will be directed to the UNICAS Project, an initiative led by Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital in collaboration with the Leo Messi Foundation, aimed at supporting children afflicted with rare diseases.
Messi, 36, presently playing for Inter Miami in the MLS, had a remarkable 17-year tenure at Barcelona. He boasts a record eight Ballon d’Or titles, the annual accolade for the sport’s top player.
While Sotheby’s had anticipated that the Messi jerseys might establish a new auction record for game-worn sports memorabilia, they fell short of breaking the standing record. The current record holder remains Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which was sold for $10.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York last year.