A set of six jerseys worn by Lionel Messi at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are about to hit the auction block, where they could fetch an eye-watering amount of money.
International auction house Sotheby’s announced this week that bids will open on the six jerseys on November 30. The auction will be conducted online, but the shirts will be on display in their New York headquarters while the auction is open.
Sotheby’s expects the jerseys could garner bids of $10 million US or higher.
The auction includes jerseys that Messi wore during six of Argentina’s seven matches at the World Cup in Qatar, including the final against France on December 18. All are inscribed on the chest with each match’s opponent, date and stadium.
Argentina won the 2022 World Cup final against France on penalty kicks after they played to a 3-3 draw. Messi scored two goals in the match, including one in extra time, and once in the shootout to cement his place among soccer’s all-time greats.
“The sale of these six shirts stands as a monumental occasion in auction history, offering fans and collectors a connection to Messi’s crowning achievement. It is an honor for Sotheby’s to present and exhibit these invaluable collectables to the public, which encapsulate the sheer brilliance of a player who has redefined the boundaries of football excellence.”
— Brahm Wachter, head of modern collectibles, Sotheby’s (as quoted on CNN.com)
If the final bid reaches Sotheby’s expectations, they could become the most expensive sports memorabilia ever auctioned off. That distinction currently belongs to a jersey worn by Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals, which Sotheby’s sold for $10.1 million US in September 2022.
The most expensive piece of soccer memorabilia ever sold is a shirt worn by Messi’s Argentinian compatriot Diego Maradona when he scored the infamous “Hand of God” goal against England in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup. That was auctioned off for nearly $9 million US in May 2022.
All six Messi shirts have been extensively photomatched to verify their authenticity. The shirts are from the first half of Argentina’s matches in Qatar; Messi’s second-half shirts were usually swapped with players from opposing teams. The only shirt missing is from Argentina’s third group stage match against Poland.
Bids for the set of six jerseys will close on December 14.