A total of 964,450 dollars, in exchange for just over 887,000 euros, is the price that has finally been paid for the famous paper napkin that served as Leo Messi’s first contract with FC Barcelona, ​​signed by the man who would be a star in the year 2000, when he was only 13 years old.

The museum piece, auctioned by the prestigious English firm Bonham’s, had a starting price of 300,000 pounds, about 350,000 euros. That is to say, the price paid has tripled.

The coveted object, which had been kept in a safe in Andorra for more than 20 years, had been offered on behalf of Horacio Gaggioli, the intermediary who signed the agreement with Carles Rexach, then technical secretary of Barça, and with the representative Josep Maria. Minguella, according to Bonham’s.

Finally, at the auction held on Bond Street, the most expensive and famous napkin in the world obtained a single bid of $275,000 until with 30 minutes left, when it was bombarded with bids, surpassing the high estimate of $630,000. The iconic document then entered an extended auction in which the final figure of $964,450 (including the buyer’s premium) was reached, just over 887,000 euros.

On the napkin, whose photo illustrates this information, one read the text written in blue pen by the hand of Carles Rexach: “In Barcelona, ​​on December 14, 2000 and in the presence of Messrs. Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, secretary coach of FC Barcelona, ​​undertakes under his responsibility and despite some opinions against him to sign the player Lionel Messi as long as we remain within the agreed amounts.”

That first informal contract took place at the Pompeya tennis club in Barcelona, ​​during a lunch attended by Rexach, Minguella and Gaggioli.

Barça’s technical secretary received a “frantic” call from an impatient Jorge Messi, who told him that Barcelona’s opportunity to sign his son was over. That was why Rexach took action: he asked the waiter for a paper napkin when he couldn’t find any other object to write on, and he drew up an improvised contract to provide Jorge with a minimum of commitment to his son.

The subsequent story is known to everyone: Leo Messi would become Barça’s best player in history, winner of 8 Ballon d’Ors, 4 Champions Leagues and 10 Leagues with Barça, in addition to a World Cup with Argentina (2022).

Josep Maria Minguella recounted the details of that episode and Messi’s arrival in Barcelona in an article published in La Vanguardia (With me you would never have left here), in which the representative wrote what the little Argentine star was like.

“That 13-year-old Leo was a shy boy, with a distant gaze – he didn’t look you in the eye – and he seemed a little scared. He was the third of four brothers, but he was already the center of the family. Despite his shyness, he always showed affection towards me, being the agent who had secured his entry into Europe. I went to see him play and he always greeted me by giving me two kisses. That’s why we had great proximity.

Sometimes he came home to eat, like when we had a barbecue with Riquelme, Motta and the players of that time, and he, shy, would sit on one end eating macaroni that my wife had made him. After years he remembered Mrs. Orchid’s macaroni.