Set of 6 Messi World Cup shirts sells for $7.8 million at auction in New York

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Six jerseys worn by soccer superstar Lionel Messi during Argentina’s winning run at last year’s World Cup sold Thursday for $7.8 million, the auction house Sotheby’s announced.

The final price for the shirts, each worn during the first half of one of Argentina’s games at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, is the highest price for an item of sports memorabilia this year, Sotheby’s said.

A shirt, worn by soccer player Lionel Messi in a match for Argentina against Saudi Arabia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is display at Sotheby's, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in New York. Six jerseys worn by Messi during Argentina’s winning run at last year’s World Cup have sold for $7.8 million. The auction house Sotheby's final price for the shirts is the highest price for an item of sports memorabilia this year, Sotheby’s said, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie, File)

Argentina defeated France in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw in the World Cup final, winning its third World Cup.

The victory, in which Messi scored two of Argentina’s three goals, represented a crowning moment for one of the sport’s greatest-ever players.

“These historic shirts are not only a tangible reminder of one of the most important moments in the history of sports, but are principally connected to the pinnacle moment in the career of the most decorated football player in history,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of modern collectibles, said in a statement.

FILE - A collection of six shirts, worn by footballer Lionel Messi at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, on display at Sotheby's, Nov. 30, 2023, in New York. Six jerseys worn by Messi during Argentina’s winning run at last year’s World Cup have sold for $7.8 million. The auction house Sotheby's final price for the shirts is the highest price for an item of sports memorabilia this year, Sotheby’s said, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie, file)

The shirts were on display at Sotheby’s New York headquarters during the two-week online auction that ended Thursday.

No information on the winning bidder was released.

Sotheby’s said a portion of the auction proceeds would be donated to the UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to help children suffering from rare diseases.

The 36-year-old Messi, who currently plays for Inter Miami in the MLS, spent 17 years at Barcelona. He has won the Ballon d’Or, which is presented annually to the game’s top player, a record eight times.

Sotheby’s had hoped that the Messi shirts might set an auction record for game-worn sports memorabilia, but that did not occur.

The record for a game-worn item of sports memorabilia remains Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for $10.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York last year.

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