Landmark Barcelona Contract Napkin of Lionel Messi Set for Auction

The historic napkin, upon which the signatures marking Lionel Messi’s induction into Barcelona were penned, is poised for auction, commencing with an opening bid of £300,000.

In December 2000, this simple napkin became the tangible symbol of a momentous accord between Carles Rexach, then-director of Barcelona, and Messi’s advocates, Josep Minguella and Horacio Gaggioli, cementing Messi’s future with the esteemed Catalan club.

Outlined in blue ink, the document encapsulates Rexach’s firm commitment to enlist Messi, propelling him towards becoming Barcelona’s most prolific goal scorer. Messi, who debuted at the age of 16, notched an impressive tally of 672 goals in 778 appearances for the club, clinching an impressive ten La Liga and four Champions League titles before embarking on a new chapter with Paris St-Germain in 2021.

The genesis of this symbolic napkin dates back to a pivotal meeting orchestrated by Rexach, prompted by concerns raised by Messi’s family regarding Barcelona’s delayed response subsequent to his initial trial.

Embedded within its fibres is Rexach’s solemn pledge, affirming, “In Barcelona, on December 14, 2000, 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.”

Scheduled for bidding via Bonhams in March, the napkin represents a watershed moment in football history. Ian Ehling, Bonhams’ Head of Fine Books and Manuscripts, acknowledges the napkin’s profound significance, recognising its transformative impact on Messi’s illustrious career and Barcelona’s enduring legacy.

Ehling underscores that the napkin transcends its materiality, attributing its significance to reshaping Messi’s trajectory and indelibly shaping Barcelona’s football narrative. It serves as a poignant reminder to billions of fans worldwide who have marvelled at the extraordinary exploits of Messi’s career.

The impending auction of this historic artefact serves as a testament to Messi’s enduring legacy and the profound influence of pivotal moments in football’s storied history.

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