A set of six match-worn Lionel Messi shirts from the 2022 World Cup are set to be auctioned in New York. The shirts the Argentina captain wore in various matches during the World Cup are estimated to be worth over $10 million by Sotheby’s, the fine-art auction house presenting the collection. This could set a record for the most expensive piece of match-worn sports memorabilia to be sold at an auction. The current holder is Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey from the 1998 NBA finals, which sold for $10.1 million in September 2022. Diego Maradona’s 1986 World Cup quarter-final shirt is the most expensive match-worn football shirt sold at auction, fetching $9.3 million in May 2022. The shirts will be open for bidding between November 30 and December 14 at Sotheby’s gallery in New York. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Unicas Project, which aims to aid children suffering from rare diseases.
Messi scored seven goals in seven appearances at the 2023 World Cup, including twice in Argentina’s penalty shootout victory over France in the final following a dramatic 3-3 draw. The victory saw the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner secure his inaugural World Cup triumph at the fifth attempt and he was named player of the tournament. Argentina had lost their opening group game to Saudi Arabia in one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, before going on to be crowned world champions for the first time in 36 years. Messi confirmed after Argentina’s semi-final victory over Croatia that the 2022 World Cup would likely be his last. He stated, “It’s my last World Cup,” emphasizing that he was unlikely to participate in future World Cup events due to his age.