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Several Australians spent their World Cup last-16 match with Argentina in Qatar trying to get hold of Lionel Messi’s shirt, before Cameron Devlin cheekily snagged it after the final whistle.
Now the opportunity has arisen to get hold of the guernsey the little magician wore in the first half of the match, during which he scored the opening goal.
Messi is putting it up for auction along with five other shirts he wore as Argentina won the World Cup.
They include the one he wore in the final itself when he scored twice in the 3-3 draw against France that preceded Argentina’s penalty shootout win.
There’s just one problem for any Socceroo eager to grab a memento of their match – the price.
The shirts are expected to fetch a collective $US10 million ($15 million), threatening the world record for sports memorabilia.
Garang Kuol did well to get a hand on Lionel Messi’s shirt during Australia’s World Cup round-of-16 loss to Argentina in Qatar.Credit: Getty
That is currently the $US10.1 million paid in 2022 for Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey. The record for a game-worn soccer shirt is £7,142,500 ($14 million) for Diego Maradona’s from Argentina’s 1986 quarter-final 2-1 victory over England.
That was sold by Steve Hodge, whose mis-hit clearance was infamously punched in by Maradona’s “Hand of God”.
Both of those sold at Sotheby’s, whose New York branch are auctioning the Messi set between November 30 and December 14. The shirts will be on view at its New York headquarters during the bidding dates.
An undisclosed portion of the proceeds will be donated to UNICAS Project, led by Sant Joan de Deu (SJD) Barcelona Children’s Hospital with the support of the Leo Messi Foundation, to meet the needs of children suffering from rare diseases.
Devlin got Messi’s shirt in Qatar without even playing in the match, won by Argentina 2-1.
“I went on (the pitch) and consoled all the boys first and then shook Messi’s hand,” he recalled later. “No one had said anything so I just tried my luck and he said, ‘I’ll see you inside’. I definitely wanted one of the other boys to have the opportunity first, but no one took it, so I thought why not?”
It looks increasingly like Devlin struck the jackpot when he chanced his arm.
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