Every Word from £762,400 Napkin Used to Agree Lionel Messi’s First Ever Contract

Every Word from £762,400 Napkin Used to Agree Lionel Messi’s First Ever Contract

Rene Otinga
updated at May 18, 2024 at 3:45 PM
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FC Barcelona
  • The napkin which Barcelona used to commit to sign Lionel Messi has been sold for a hefty fee
  • Reports claim the napkin, which was laminated and framed has been sold in an auction for £762,400
  • Messi signed for Barcelona a month after the deal was agreed and became a Barcelona club legend

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The iconic napkin that sealed Lionel Messi’s move to Barcelona as a teenager has been sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

When Messi was 13, Barcelona spotted his potential and was determined to develop his talent in the famous La Masia academy.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona, napkin, La Liga, contract, Club legend,Carles Rexach
Lionel Messi made his Barcelona debut aged 16. Photo: Luis Bagu.
Source: Getty Images

Thanks to some quick thinking by Josep Minguella, a transfer adviser to Barcelona and agent Horacio Gaggioli, the Catalan club was able to secure Messi for the future, and it all boiled down to a contract on a napkin.

What the contract said

In 2000, Messi’s family was growing concerned over Barcelona’s commitment to signing their young prospect. At the time, Messi had already undergone trials at Barcelona, but there was still a wave of uncertainty.

The then-Barcelona director, Carles Rexach, reacted quickly by organizing a meeting to set the record straight. According to BBC, the contract, written in blue ink, had a pledge from Rexach that the club would sign Messi if he relocated from his native Argentina to Spain.

It reads: "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."

Messi made his Barcelona debut at age 16 and became arguably the most important player in the club's history.

At Barcelona, the Argentine won 10 La Lita titles, four Champions Leagues and scored a whopping 672 goals in 778 games before his abrupt departure in 2021.

Now 36, Messi plays in the Major League Soccer for Inter Miami.

Details of the auction

With the help of London-based Bonhams, Gaggioli's famous napkin was auctioned from May 8 to May 17, 2024.

As reported by Marca, the napkin, which is 16.5 x 16.5cm, eventually found the highest bidder, who coughed up an amount equivalent to $965,000.

When Messi and Ronaldo met for the first time

Sports Brief also reported on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-ever meeting.

The pair met for the first time in the Champions League in 2008. Manchester United knocked Barcelona out of the competition with a 1-0 aggregate win.

Neither Messi nor Ronaldo scored in that game, but one of them missed a penalty.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and TUKO.co.ke.