Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Football fans given chance to bid for Lionel Messi napkin

Lionel Messi may be coming to the end of his playing career, but his popularity shows no sign of slowing down among football fans.

In fact, a special Lionel Messi napkin will be soon coming up for auction, with a staggering starting bid of £300,000. The item is being handled by specialist auctioneer Bonhams.

A piece of history

This is a chance to own a major part of Barcelona – and indeed Lionel Messi – history. The note is written in blue ballpoint ink onto the napkin by Barcelona coach Carles Rexach in December 2000 and served as the club's commitment to sign a 13-year-old Messi.

There were initially doubts about Messi's potential as the young footballer had been diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child, which needed treatment that was unaffordable for his family.

Yet Messi's father held firm, delivering an ultimatum to the club, and it was then that the commitment was made on the napkin.

“In Barcelona, on 14 December 2000 and in the presence of Messrs Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, FC Barcelona's sporting director, hereby agrees, under his responsibility and regardless of any dissenting opinions, to sign the player Lionel Messi, provided that we keep to the amounts agreed upon,” reads the hand-written note.

The item is owned by agent Horacio Gaggioli, and is expected to fetch a large sum of money.

Your chance to own the Lionel Messi napkin

“This is one of the most thrilling items I have ever handled,” admitted Ian Ehling, head of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams New York. “Yes, it's a paper napkin, but it's the famous napkin that was at the inception of Lionel Messi's career.

“It changed the life of Messi, the future of FC Barcelona, and was instrumental in giving some of the most glorious moments of football to billions of fans around the globe.”

The Greatest of All Time?

Of course, we now know that the 13-year-old boy mentioned in the napkin went on to be what many consider to be the Greatest footballer Of All Time.

At Barcelona, Messi won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, and lifted the UEFA Champions League four times.

He won the Ballon d'Or a record eight times, and in 2022 added the World Cup his long list of accolades, winning the trophy with Argentina.


Chloe Digby

An experienced freelance football writer, editor and podcaster, Chloe has worked for Forbes, the Guardian, the BBC, Mundial Magazine, FourFourTwo Magazine the iPaper, OneFootball, Tortoise Media and many more. Chloe has been a regular at Stockport County since 1995 and also follows Fiorentina. She is an expert on fan culture, having traveled all over England and Italy watching football.

Articles: 8