A football enthusiast is now the proud owner of a legendary shirt Lionel Messi donned in El Clasico after purchasing the item for a whopping $450,000 which is a record for a game-worn jersey from the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
To celebrate his 500th of 672 goals for boyhood club FC Barcelona, Messi famously ripped off his ’10’ shirt and held it up to a hostile Bernabeu crowd after sealing a 3-2 victory against the Catalans’ bitter rivals Real Madrid in 2017.
Terminating a move that started with Sergi Roberto running from deep in his own half before Jordi Alba laid an assist into his path, Messi was also booked for the injury time celebration that has become one of the most famous in modern football.
Looking to own a piece of sporting history, then, a collector bought the Blaugrana jersey for $450,000 as confirmed by both the buyer and those that sold it to him.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) April 23, 2021
Damian Olivera claimed that the sale broke the all-time record for a Messi game-worn jersey and congratulated “everyone involved in this amazing achievement” including the Goldin collectibles company.
Announcing the purchase himself, an Instagram user known as “Anishfutbol” wrote: “It’s coming to my collection…THAT shirt held up by Leo after deciding El Clasico with his 500th goal,” in a post to accompany a photo of Messi in the act.
“[I] cannot believe it. The holiest of holy grails for my collection,” Anish finished.
Though the $450,000 sum might be a record for a Messi-worn top, it is still some way off the highest paid elsewhere in sports with the current number one spot held by a 1928-30 Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey sold for $5.64 million in 2019.
Last weekend, it was reported that a Kobe Bryant jersey worn for two regular season games and a pair of Western Conference semifinal meetings with the Utah Jazz will head to an online auction on May 18 and could challenge this by fetching up to $5 million.
This prediction has been made by the fact that a signed jersey from the late Bryant’s rookie 1996-1997 Lakers season sold for $3.69 million last year, which was the most ever for a basketball shirt.