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Lionel Messi’s World Cup Jerseys Sold for Record $7.8 Million

In a dazzling display of sports memorabilia appreciation, six jerseys worn by soccer maestro Lionel Messi during Argentina’s triumphant run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup have set a new record, fetching a staggering $7.8 million, Sotheby’s announced on Thursday.

The final price tag for each jersey, donned by Messi during the first half of various games in the tournament held in Qatar, marks the highest amount for a piece of sports memorabilia this year, according to Sotheby’s.

The jerseys hold a special place in football history, symbolizing Argentina’s gripping victory in the World Cup final against France. The exhilarating match, which concluded in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw, secured Argentina’s third World Cup title. Messi, contributing two of Argentina’s three goals, added another iconic chapter to his illustrious career.

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of modern collectibles, emphasized the significance of these shirts: “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.”

The shirts were showcased at Sotheby’s New York headquarters during a two-week online auction that concluded on Thursday. Although the identity of the winning bidder remains undisclosed, Sotheby’s revealed that 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, the project aims to aid children suffering from rare diseases.

At 36 years old, Messi, currently playing for Inter Miami in the MLS, boasts an impressive career spanning 17 years at Barcelona. With eight Ballon d’Or awards to his name, presented annually to the game’s top player, Messi continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of football.

While Sotheby’s had hoped the Messi jerseys would set an auction record for game-worn sports memorabilia, the ultimate honor in this category still belongs to Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for a staggering $10.1 million at Sotheby’s in New York last year. The sale of Messi’s jerseys, however, stands as a testament to the enduring allure and value of items associated with sporting legends.

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