Lionel Messi's life-changing napkin sells for shy of $1 million at auction

Ex-Barcelona soccer star's 25-year-old contract written on napkin auctioned in UK

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What was starting price of Lionel Messi's at auction? — Reuters/Files

The famous napkin that turned a young Lionel Messi's life around has sold for $965,000 on Friday, according to British auction house Bonhams.

The napkin holds significant important in the 36-year-old Argentine footballer's career on the field as it features, in writing, an agreement in principle to sign the-then 13-year-old Messi to Barcelona.

An undisclosed percentage of the sale price pays administrative fees for the online auction, in what’s called the buyer's premium.

According to Bonhams, the auction was on behalf of Horacio Gaggioli, an agent from Messi's home country of Argentina who was part of the deal.

The napkin has the contract written in blue ink and was handed to Messi's father Jorge at a Barcelona tennis club to reassure him that the deal would go through.

A formal and detailed contract with the club followed soon after.

The text on the napkin was written on December 14, 2000, with the signatures of Gaggioli, another agent, Josep Maria Minguella and Barcelona’s then-sporting director, Carles Rexach.

The starting price was $379,000.

Messi, who now plays for David Beckham’s Inter Miami, spent nearly two decades with Barcelona, making his first-team debut in 2004.

He helped the club win every major trophy including the Champions League four times and the Spanish league 10 times.