Lionel Messi
David Kirouac-USA TODAY SportsCredit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Today, we know Lionel Messi as arguably the greatest soccer player of all-time, but back in 2000, no one knew what the incredibly talented Argentinian would become. Yet, that didn’t stop FC Barcelona from offering a then-14-year-old Messi a contract.

There was some concern about Barcelona getting Messi under contract after his dad served the club with an ultimatum. But Barcelona didn’t flinch during their meeting with Messi and wanted to show they meant business despite being out to eat with the young soccer prospect. With no other paper available at the restaurant, Barcelona resulted to drawing up Messi’s first contract on a nearby napkin.

Of course, Barcelona and Messi later ironed out a real contract that was much easier to read, featuring many more details that wouldn’t fit on the back of a napkin.

But the original napkin still exists, and now it’s become a very unique collector’s item. How much is the Messi napkin worth?

We now have our answer, thanks to the British auction house Bonhams, which recently sold the Messi contract napkin for $965,000.

Here’s a shot of the near-million-dollar 1-of-1 Lionel Messi napkin contract.

The starting price began at $379,000, so to see it climb to nearly three times its original list price is astounding, but there’s only one in existence. Any Messi memorabilia collector would love to have his first contract, even if it’s just written in ink onto a napkin.

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