Lionel Messi’s World Cup Jerseys Could Become the Most Expensive Game-Worn Memorabilia Ever Auctioned

Gear from one of the greatest football matches of all-time could soon be yours.

On Monday, Sotheby’s announced the sale of six jerseys worn by soccer star Lionel Messi during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The set of shirts—worn in the final, semi-final, quarter-final, round of 16, and key group stage matches—will be offered in a dedicated auction that opens for bidding on November 30. Altogether, they could fetch over $10 million, according to the auction house’s pre-sale estimates.

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Sotheby’s believes the set is “poised to become the most valuable collection of sports memorabilia at auction.” If the sale surpasses its estimate, the jerseys will become the most expensive game-worn football sports memorabilia sold at auction, surpassing Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey which sold for $9.3 million at Sotheby’s in May 2022. The auction could even break the current record for a game-worn item of sport memorabilia, which is held by Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey that sold for $10.1 million in September 2022.

Messi’s six white and sky-blue Argentina home shirts are being brought to auction by the U.S.-based sports startup AC Momento, which is also a partner to the new Inter Miami captain. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Deu Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to help kids suffering from rare diseases.

A year ago today, Messi—an eight-time Ballon d’Or winner—helped kick off the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Five billion people reportedly tuned in to watch him play over the course of a month at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, hoping he would secure his country’s first World Cup title in 36 years. On December 18, Argentina faced off against defending champion France in the final, taking home the cup in a thrilling match that ended in 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory. Messi scored two goals, earning himself Man of the Match honors. In a post-game statement, he said “I dreamed of it so many times, I wanted it so much that I still can’t believe it.”

If you are disbelief that the GOAT’s game-worn jerseys from the epic event are headed to auction, this is no fever dream. Bidding for the set of six shirts opens on November 30 and runs through December 18. Sotheby’s will also host a free public exhibition of the shirts at its New York location from the bidding start date to December 14.

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