“Score a Piece of History: Lionel Messi’s World Cup 2022 Jerseys to Hit Auction Block and Break Records”

The football shirts worn by Lionel Messi during Argentina’s victorious World Cup run in 2022 are expected to become the most valuable collection of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction. Sotheby’s estimates that the six shirts worn by the Argentine captain in Qatar, including during the nail-biting final against France in December 2022, could fetch more than $10m (£8m). If they do, they would surpass the $9.3m price tag for Diego Maradona’s shirt that he wore during the infamous “Hand of God” goal scored in the 1986 quarter-final victory over England, becoming the most valuable game-worn item of football memorabilia. In the final, Argentina won in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw in which Messi scored two goals.

Shirts worn by Lionel Messi during Argentina #39;s winning World Cup run in 2022 are to be auctioned by Sotheby #39;s. Pic: Sam Robles Photography/ Sotheby #39;s

The footballer, aged 36, recently shared news of an upcoming auction on social media. He mentioned that a portion of the proceeds would be donated to the Unicas Project, led by the Sant Joan de Deu Barcelona Children’s Hospital, which helps children suffering from rare diseases. The current record for a game-worn item of sports memorabilia is held by Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for $10.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York in September 2022. However, in terms of football memorabilia specifically, the current record is held by Diego Maradona’s shirt worn during the 1986 quarter-final victory over England, during which he scored his infamous “Hand of God” goal, which sold for $9.3 million in 2022.

Sotheby’s will be putting up Messi’s shirts for auction between November 30 and December 14, and they will be on view during these dates at its headquarters in New York as part of a free public exhibition. The auction house is partnering with US-based tech start-up AC Momento, which partners with high-profile athletes to help manage their match-worn memorabilia. Messi, who currently plays in the MLS in the US for Inter Miami, the club owned by David Beckham, spent 17 years at Barcelona, winning Spain’s league on numerous occasions and the European Champions League four times. He has won the Ballon d’Or, which is presented annually to the game’s top player, a record eight times.

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of modern collectibles, described Argentina’s World Cup win as “one of the greatest events in sports history, intrinsically connected to Messi’s valiant journey.”

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