Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
The shirt Lionel Messi wore during Argentina’s 2022 Fifa World Cup final victory over France is expected to sell for a record-breaking $10m (£8m) when a set of six shirts he wore go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York on Thursday.
Messi’s shirts had attracted bids as high as $6.5m by 3pm GMT on Wednesday, with 26 hours to go until bidding closes at 5.01pm on Thursday.
If the lot attracts bids over $10.1m it will set a price record for sports tops, eclipsing the $10.091m paid last year for a jersey worn by Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
Messi’s shirts would become the most expensive football kit ever sold if they go for more than the £7,142,500 paid earlier this year for the shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored twice – including the “hand of God” goal – to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup.
Maradona’s shirt has been owned for the past 35 years by Steve Hodge, the England midfielder who unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona for the handball goal. The two players swapped shirts at the end of the game. The Jordan and Maradona shirts were also sold by Sotheby’s.
The Messi set includes two shirts he wore during the group stage. The other four were worn during the Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final.
Messi finished the tournament with seven goals and three assists, including two goals in the final. He received the golden ball as the tournament’s best player and the silver boot as the second-highest scorer behind France’s Kylian Mbappé.
In the catalogue that accompanies the shirts, Messi says: “It was amazing. Everything changed for me that day. We finally got what we had dreamed of so much, the thing I’ve wanted for so long in my career. And it finally came at the end.”
The World Cup trophy was the final accolade that Messi had been dreaming of after winning 10 LaLiga titles with Barcelona, four Champions League wins, and Copa América and Finalissima trophies with Argentina. He was already the most decorated football player ever after being awarded seven Ballon d’Ors. He has since won another.
The catalogue states that the shirts being sold were “worn through the first half of each respective match”. An undisclosed portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Unicas project, led by Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to meet the needs of children with rare diseases.