February 27, 2024

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And for a lot of money: the famous handkerchief that became the beginning of the dream wedding between Messi and Barcelona under the hammer  Foreign football

And for a lot of money: the famous handkerchief that became the beginning of the dream wedding between Messi and Barcelona under the hammer Foreign football

An iconic piece of football history is up for auction. The handkerchief on which the entourage of Lionel Messi – then 13 years old – and FC Barcelona concluded an agreement in principle that should generate at least 350 thousand euros. “One of the most exciting things ever,” says the auction house.

Go back to 2000 for context. FC Barcelona has been eyeing a thirteen-year-old superstar talent from Argentina for months: Lionel Messi. The Catalan superpower is inviting Messi and his father Jorge for a trial period next September. The little boy amazes everyone. Messi himself is also a fan of accommodation and life in Barcelona. a A match made in heavenApparently, but closing the deal is easier said than done. Carles Rexach, the then technical director, faced a lot of resistance within the club. Barcelona was not accustomed to signing players from outside Catalonia for its youth teams, let alone footballers from outside the European Union. Furthermore, questions are being asked about Messi's growth.

Messi as a teenager worked in FC Barcelona's youth academy. © RV

Rexach promises to Abi Jorge that Barcelona will work on a contract. But months pass without anything happening. So Messi's entourage increases the pressure. On December 4, Minguela and Gagiolo, agents of the Messi family, invited their friend Rexach to the restaurant of the Pompeii Real Tennis Club on Montjuïc, the famous hill in Barcelona. They demand guarantees. They threatened: “Otherwise he will sign for Real Madrid.”

“Either you offer us a contract, or the boy is going somewhere else,” is the voice too. Rexatch screws. He grabs the first piece of paper he can find: a napkin. “I wrote something along the lines of: The club promises to attract Messi.” Rexach signs it, just like Minguela and Gagiolo.

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The declaration of intention to contract the famous handkerchief is now framed.
The declaration of intention to contract the famous handkerchief is now framed. © RV

Although the value of a piece of paper is small, the agreement in principle is a fact. On a napkin, which grew into a famous piece of paper. It is the same handkerchief that, according to Spanish media, will soon be sold at auction through the prestigious British specialist company Bonhams. The selling price is estimated between 350,000 and 585,000 euros. The document is said to be currently kept in a safe in Gagioli. The former agent previously stated that he would donate it to the Barcelona Museum, but has now chosen to sell.

Bonhams Auctions says: “This is one of the most exciting items we have ever acquired. Yes, it's a tissue, but it's the famous tissue that launched Lionel Messi's career.” He changed his life, but also the future of FC Barcelona. He has contributed significantly to some of football's most beautiful moments, in front of billions of fans around the world.

After his world title, we published a series on the life story of Lionel Messi. From the birth of a miracle baby to how his story began in Barcelona with a handkerchief.

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Lionel Messi, now at Inter Miami.
Lionel Messi, now at Inter Miami. © Getty Images