Messi won a new Ballon d'Or and remembered Maradona 0:33
New York (CNN) -- Soccer superstar Lionel Messi has set multiple records in his career, and now he's about to break one more.
Sotheby's will auction next week a set of six shirts that Messi wore during the 2022 World Cup, in which his country, Argentina, was crowned champion. Specifically, all the shirts were worn by the Argentine captain during each stage of the tournament, which lasted a month, including the grand final against France.
The auction house expects the sale to be worth more than $10 million, which would make it one of the "most valuable sports memorabilia collections ever auctioned."
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If it reaches that figure, the price of the set of garments would surpass that of a jersey that Michael Jordan wore in the first game of the 1998 NBA Finals, of his famous "Last Dance" season, which sold for $10.1 million at Sotheby's in 2022. According to the auction house, that jersey currently holds the world record for being the "most valuable sports memorabilia ever sold at auction."
Now, the current record for a football match memorabilia is held by the legendary Diego Maradona and his "Hand of God" jersey, which Sotheby's sold for $9.3 million in 2022. Bids were initially expected to range from $5 million to $7 million, perhaps indicating that prices for Messi's jerseys could rise even higher than expected.
"The sale of these six shirts constitutes a monumental occasion in the history of auctions, as it offers fans and collectors a connection to Messi's greatest achievement," Brahm Wachter, head of modern collectibles at Sotheby's, said in a statement. "Sotheby's is honoured to present and display to the public these priceless collector's items, which encapsulate the sheer brilliance of a player who has redefined the boundaries of footballing excellence."
To date, the most expensive auction of a jersey worn by Messi in a soccer match reached $450,000 last year. This is the one he wore during the 2017 El Clasico, a tense battle between his former team FC Barcelona against Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid. Messi's last-minute goal, the 500th of his career, determined the winner of the match.
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The online auction of Messi's shirts will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14 and will be on display during that time in a free exhibition at Sotheby's in New York.
Sotheby's added that Messi's auction comes during a "vigorous market for sports memorabilia and collectibles, driven by ownership and the unique experiences it offers." Similar auctions, including jerseys of NFL greatman Tom Brady and the late NBA player Kobe Bryant, are also attracting younger customers, half of them under 40, and more than half completely new to their sales, the company said.
Messi, 36, signed for MLS side Inter Miami in early 2023, ending a nearly two-decade stint with European teams, most notably Barcelona and most recently Paris Saint-Germain. His appearances sent MLS ticket prices skyrocketing and fans struggled to get their hands on replica jerseys for several months.
In 2022 in Qatar, Messi helped his country, Argentina, win their third FIFA World Cup title (and his first) by beating France on penalties in one of the most thrilling finals in the tournament's history. According to Adidas, their jerseys and the kits of the Argentine national team sold out quickly.