HOT NEWS: Auctioning The Contract Written On Messi’s Napkin, How much?

The first contract Barca signed with Lionel Messi on a napkin in 2000 could be auctioned for more than $500,000.

On May 8, British auction house Bonhams opened an online auction for Messi and Barca’s first contract. Early offers have reached more than $275,000, and are expected to reach $625,000. The auction will end on May 17.

Initially, the auction was scheduled to be held in March. But then, Bonhams had to postpone due to a dispute over the ownership of the scarf, which had been in the hands of Argentine transfer broker Horacio Gaggioli for two decades.

Josep Minguella, another broker involved in bringing Messi from Argentina to Spain, claimed ownership of the scarf after it was announced that it would be put up for auction. Gaggioli opposes this view. Currently, Bonhams claims “there are no longer any legal obstacles”.

Bonhams organized an online auction of Messi's contract written on a napkin from May 8. Photo: PA

Bonhams organized an online auction of Messi’s contract written on a napkin from May 8. Photo: PA

In 2000, Messi and his father, Jorge, went to Spain with the hope of joining Barca. After a period of contact and trial, Mr. Jorge doubted the club’s commitment to his son. To retain, Football Director Carles Rexach hastily signed a temporary contract.

“Why a napkin? Because it’s the only thing I have on hand,” Rexach explained in 2020 on the 20th anniversary of Messi’s association with Barca. “I felt the only way to relieve Jorge’s stress was to sign something. So I asked for a napkin from the restaurant waiter.”

After Barca signed an official contract with Messi , Gaggioli still kept the napkin as a souvenir. Later, the Argentine broker deposited it in a protected warehouse in Andorra, a principality located north of Barcelona. Barca once negotiated to return the scarf to the club’s museum, but failed.

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Messi signed his first contract with Barca when he was 13 years old. In 2004, he joined the first team and contributed continuously for 17 years. Messi is the player who scores the most goals (672 goals), plays the most matches (778 matches) and wins the most titles (34) for Barca, including four Champions Leagues and 10 La Ligas.

The Argentine striker also won the 2022 World Cup , the 2022 Intercontinental Super Cup, the 2021 Copa America, the 2005 U20 World Cup, the 2008 Olympic gold medal, a record of eight Golden Balls and six European Golden Shoes.