Auction Results

Did Messi make the record?


Lionel Messi holds his Argentina 10 shirt which is to be sold at auction in New York

A set of 6 Lioniel Messi shirts from Argentina’s glorious 2022 FIFA World Cup finals campaign were sold at auction yesterday. Many expected the shirts to break the world record for a game-worn football shirt.

In the end, despite an enormous opening bid of $5.2 million the shirts did not surpass the £7.1 million realised by the so-called Hand of God shirt.

A work of genius

That was worn by Diego Maradona, also of Argentina, and also during a victorious world cup campaign in 1986. It was sold in 2022 by Steve Hodge, the England midfielder who swapped shirts with Maradona at the end of the quarter-final tie in which the diminutive forward scored 2 goals – one a work of genius, the other probably illegal.

The 6 Messi shirts finally realised $7.8m (£6.1m) at a sale in New York.

They had been worn by Messi during the final, the semi-final, quarter-final, last-16 game, and from two of the three group games. They were first half shirts.

The 6 shirts are all in Argentina’s home colours.

The missing shirt

The group games shirts are from ties against Saudi Arabia (which Argentina lost) and Mexico, the third group game against Poland was played in Argentina’s change, dark-blue shirt.

Messi is undoubtedly one of the greatest played to ever play football. The addition of a World Cup medal to his extraordinary personal haul (8 Ballon d’Ors, 4 Champions League titles, 10 Spanish league titles, and so on and on) ensured his record as the most-decorated player in football history will be hard to beat.

Sports memorabilia is desirable and expensive right now. The game is an even-growing global phenomenon and expanding into newly rich markets. Collectors from around the world will queue up to spend huge amounts on items related to the world’s best players.

In the past, football memorabilia sales were often the product of relative player poverty. After short careers that often left them with physical injuries to manage players funded retirement by selling shirts and medals. Today’s players, like Messi, have no such need and these sales could easily become more lucrative as a result.

This sale – a set of 6 jerseys straight after the tournament – was managed to maximise the value of the shirts, some of which has been donated to charities for children with rare diseases.

Just Collecting