The Napkin Contract That Changed Football: Messi’s Historic Memorabilia Fetches £762,000

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A Makeshift Contract Turned Collector’s Gem

An unassuming napkin, which played a pivotal role in the footballing journey of Lionel Messi, has fetched a staggering £762,000 at a recent auction. This piece of paper, far from being a mere table accessory, served as the initial contract that brought a young Messi to FC Barcelona in 2000.

From Club’s Hesitation to Historic Agreement

The story of the napkin begins with Barcelona’s hesitation to sign the then 13-year-old prodigy. Messi had impressed during a trial, but the club’s delay in formalizing an offer led to frustration from Messi’s father, Jorge. In a turn of events, Carles Rexach, Barcelona’s sporting director at the time, seized the moment at the Pompeia Tennis Club. Alongside transfer adviser Josep Minguella and agent Horacio Gaggioli, Rexach drafted a makeshift contract on a napkin to secure Messi’s future with the club.

The Napkin’s Message and Legacy

The napkin, now a relic of football history, bears the commitment made by Rexach to sign Messi, “regardless of any dissenting opinions,” a promise that would shape Barcelona’s destiny for the next two decades. Signed by the trio present, it laid the foundation for what would become one of the most successful player-club partnerships in the sport’s history.

Auction House Surprised by Spirited Bidding

Auctioneers Bonham, who anticipated a final bid around the £500,000 mark, were met with a series of competitive offers that ultimately saw the napkin’s price soar. The auction concluded with a winning bid of £600,000, with additional fees bringing the total to £762,400.

Messi’s Legacy at Barcelona and Beyond

The napkin contract’s value is a testament to Messi’s incredible impact at Barcelona. The Argentine forward’s tenure at the club was nothing short of legendary, with an astonishing 672 goals, four Champions League titles, and ten LaLiga crowns. Messi’s journey continued with Paris Saint-Germain and later with David Beckham’s Inter Miami, not to mention his eighth Ballon d’Or win following Argentina’s World Cup victory in 2022.

A Piece of Football History Sold

The sale represents more than just a high-value transaction—it’s a symbol of a transformative moment in football. The buyer of the napkin has not just purchased a unique piece of memorabilia but a tangible reminder of the deal that arguably marked the most significant turning point in Barcelona’s 124-year history.

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