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Lionel Messi’s Paper Napkin Contract Sells for ₹ 8 Crore at Auction


The paper napkin that Lionel Messi’s 13-year-old Barcelona team pledged to sign has gone up for auction for 762,400 pounds (about Rs 8.08 crore). According to a BBC report, the napkin was signed in December 2000 and contains a promise from Carl Rexach, the director of Barcelona at the time. Josep Minguella, a transfer advisor for the Spanish team, and Horacio Gaggioli, the agent who suggested the young Argentine, also signed it. At the auction, 300,000 pounds (about Rs 3.17 crore) was the starting price.

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According to the outlet, the “standard Spanish waxy napkin,” which measured 16.5 x 16.5 cm, was framed and laminated. It had a blue ink signature.

On behalf of Gaggioli, the online auction was conducted by London-based Bonhams.

Messi became one of Barcelona’s greatest players, winning over 30 trophies and leaving the Catalan club as their all-time leading scorer with 672 goals.

He also won a record eight Ballon d’Or awards for the world’s best player and led Argentina to the World Cup crown in 2022. Messi now plays for US club Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.


Messi joined Barcelona a month after the deal was signed. He made his debut at the age of 16.

The napkin was signed at a meeting in the presence of Messi’s father Jorge who was concerned about lack of response from Barcelona following the teenager’s trial.

“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 translated text, as per the BBC report.

Ian Ehling, the head of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams New York, said it’s a famous napkin. “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.”

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