Thursday, February 01, 2024
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Web Desk

Auction price of Lionel Messi's first contract will leave you stunned

According to the reports, the contract would be auctioned on behalf of Lionel Messi's agent Horacio Gaggioli

By
Web Desk
Argentinas forward Lionel Messi waves as he warms up during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification football match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 21, 2023. — AFP
Argentina's forward Lionel Messi waves as he warms up during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification football match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 21, 2023. — AFP

The Argentine striker and the world's renowned footballer Lionel Messi's first contract with Barcelona — signed on December 14, 2000 — is ready to be auctioned in March with the price tag of a whopping 350,000 euros.

The contract in its initial form was formulated on a napkin when the footballer was in his 13 years of age and convinced the high-ups of the Catalan football club to secure a place for him at such a young age. 

Lionel Messi's contract will be auctioned under a London-based auction house Bonhams.

According to the reports, the contract would be auctioned on behalf of Argentine player agent Horacio Gaggioli.

The observers were impressed by the 13-year-old's two-week trial with Barcelona in September 2000, however, the club was hesitant to bring in the new young player.

Argentinas forward Lionel Messi reacts after Uruguays goal during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification football match at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires on November 16, 2023. — AFP
Argentina's forward Lionel Messi reacts after Uruguay's goal during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification football match at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires on November 16, 2023. — AFP

Barcelona director Carles Rexach was worried about the club losing such a good player as Messi had returned to his home city of Rosario in Argentina.

According to The Athletic, Gaggioli told last year that he had informed Rexach in December 2000 that if they could not commit to signing Messi — the teenager would be offered to other clubs, including Real Madrid.

Gaggioli was invited by Barcelona’s director to decide for Messi but due to the shortage of time to formally sign an agreement. The solution was to write on a napkin and take the signatures of all the parties in the contract, which would later turn legal.

The contract on the napkin read: "In Barcelona, on December 14, 2000, and in the presence of the gentleman (the agent, Josep Maria) Minguella and Horacio (Gaggioli), Carles Rexach, technical secretary of FCB, commits under his responsibility, despite the opinion of others who are against signing Lionel Messi, as long as the agreed fees are maintained."

“This is one of the most thrilling items I have ever handled,” Ian Ehling, head of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams New York said, adding "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."

Gaggioli while recalling the event termed it a "marvelous moment" saying: "That napkin broke the deadlock."

"My lawyers looked at it. The napkin had everything: my name, his name, the date. It’s notarised. It was a legal document."

“It’ll be a part of me for the rest of my life. The napkin will always be at my side. I live in Andorra and I’ve kept the napkin in a safe inside a bank."

Minguella told Catalunya Radio Wednesday that the napkin had been in his office for years and he had offered Barcelona the chance to display it in the club’s museum.