Lionel Messi’s shirt is set to break a sport memorabilia record — and it highlights how one Aussie may have already hit the jackpot

Australia World

Several Australians spent their World Cup last-16 match with Argentina in Qatar trying to get hold of Lionel Messi’s shirt, before Cameron Devlin cheekily snagged it after the final whistle. 

Now, the opportunity has arisen to get hold of the jersey the little magician wore in the first half of the match, during which he scored the opening goal.

Messi is putting it up for auction along with five other shirts he wore as Argentina won the World Cup.

They include the one he wore in the final itself, where he scored twice in the 3-3 draw against France that preceded Argentina’s penalty shoot-out win

There’s just one problem for any Socceroo eager to grab a memento of their match — the price.

The shirts are expected to fetch a collective $US10 million ($A15 million), threatening the world record for sports memorabilia.

That is currently the $US10.1 million ($A15.4 million) paid in 2022 for Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey.

The record for a game-worn football shirt is 7,142,500 pesos ($A14 million) for Diego Maradona’s from Argentina’s 1986 quarterfinal 2-1 victory over England.

Lionel Messi seen from behind

Lionel Messi has made the number 10 shirt as iconic as his predecessor, Diego Maradona.(Getty Images: Amin Mohammad Jamali)

That was sold by Steve Hodge, whose mis-hit clearance was infamously punched in by Maradona’s “Hand of God”.

Both of those sold at Sotheby’s, whose New York branch is auctioning the Messi set between November 30 and December 14. The shirts will be on view at its New York headquarters during the bidding dates.

An undisclosed portion of the proceeds will be donated to UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Déu (SJD) Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to meet the needs of children suffering from rare diseases.

Devlin got Messi’s shirt in Qatar without even playing in the match, which was won by Argentina 2-1.

“I went on [the pitch] and consoled all the boys first and then shook Messi’s hand,” he recalled later.

“No one had said anything so I just tried my luck and he said, ‘I’ll see you inside’. I definitely wanted one of the other boys to have the opportunity first, but no one took it, so I thought why not?”

It increasingly looks as if Devlin struck the jackpot when he chanced his arm.


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