A napkin worth millions: The story of Lionel Messi’s first contract

INDONESIAUPDATES.COM, News En – In the world of football, there are countless stories of young prodigies being scouted and signed by major clubs. However, few tales can match the extraordinary beginnings of Lionel Messi’s career. The Argentine maestro’s journey to greatness began with an unlikely document – a contract written on a napkin.

In December 2000, a 13-year-old Messi was on trial at FC Barcelona, showcasing his exceptional talent to the club’s scouts. Carles Rexach, Barcelona’s technical director at the time, was so impressed with the young Messi that he wanted to secure his signature immediately. However, there was a problem: Messi’s family was hesitant to commit to the club, and there was a risk that another team could swoop in and sign the prodigy.

To prevent this from happening, Rexach decided to take matters into his own hands. He grabbed a napkin from a nearby restaurant and quickly drafted a contract outlining Barcelona’s commitment to sign Messi. The napkin was signed by Rexach, Messi’s agent Horacio Gaggioli, and Messi’s father, Jorge.

This makeshift contract marked the beginning of Messi’s extraordinary adventure with Barcelona. Over the next two decades, he would go on to become one of the greatest footballers of all time, leading the club to numerous trophies and shattering countless records.

In 2024, the napkin that started it all went up for auction, and to no one’s surprise, it attracted a lot of attention. The final bid was a staggering £762,400 (around $965,000), making it one of the most expensive pieces of football memorabilia ever sold.

The sale of the napkin serves as a reminder of the humble beginnings of one of football’s greatest icons. It’s a testament to the power of talent, determination, and a well-timed signature on a napkin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Lionel Messi’s Napkin Contract

1. Why was Messi’s first contract signed on a napkin?

There wasn’t a formal contract readily available, and Messi’s family had doubts, so urgency led to the use of a napkin to secure Barcelona’s commitment before another club signed him.

2. How much did the napkin sell for?

The napkin sold for a whopping £762,400 (around $965,000) at auction in May 2024.

3. Why is this napkin significant?

This seemingly ordinary napkin represents a pivotal moment in football history. It marks the very beginning of Lionel Messi’s incredible journey with FC Barcelona, a journey that would see him become one of the greatest footballers of all time.

4. Who was involved in signing the napkin contract?

The napkin was signed by Carles Rexach (Barcelona’s director), Horacio Gaggioli (Messi’s agent), and Jorge Messi (Lionel’s father).

5. Where is the napkin now?

The whereabouts of the napkin are unknown after the auction. The buyer most likely keeps it in a private collection.