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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Life-changing napkin: how an improvised document transformed Lionel Messi’s life

By Vaseline May26,2024

Thomas Edison once said, “A single piece of paper cannot determine my future.” For Lionel Messi, however, a single piece of paper changed the course of his life. Although the football GOAT had a glamorous career at Barcelona, ​​his early days in the business were not magical. His first contract with the club was signed not on a fascinating document, but on a ‘napkin’. The insignificant piece of paper marked the start of one of the most extraordinary careers in football history.

Image source: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during a training session at Estadi Johan Cruyff on January 5, 2020 in Barcelona, ​​Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Image source: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during a training session at Estadi Johan Cruyff on January 5, 2020 in Barcelona, ​​Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

The story behind this signed napkin started when the Argentinian player was only 13 years old and was already on trial with Barcelona. His father Jorge Messi was frustrated by the prospect of his son joining the Catalan club. According to Independent, the lack of commitment on the club’s part would be one of the main reasons for Jorge’s concerns.

To calm the nerves of Messi’s family, Carles Rexach, then the club’s sporting director, made the decisive move to bring out a 16.5 by 16.5 cm napkin at the Pompeia tennis club, in the company of Josep Minguella, the club’s transfer advisor. club, and Horacio Gaggioli, the Argentinian agent who brought Messi to their attention. On that piece of napkin, he drafted a formal agreement to acknowledge the club’s interest in signing the player.

The informal agreement was signed on the evening of the day
Image Source: Lionel Messi of Barcelona before the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and SD Eibar at Camp Nou Stadium on May 21, 2017 in Barcelona, ​​Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Rexach did his best and wrote an agreement on the napkin in Spanish. Translated into English, the text reads: In Barcelona, ​​​​on December 14, 2000 and in the presence of Messrs. Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, sporting director of FC Barcelona, ​​​​under his responsibility and regardless of any dissenting opinions, hereby agrees , to sign the player Lionel Messi. provided we stick to the agreed amounts.”

A signed piece of napkin was what Messi needed to stay loyal to Barcelona. Without further ado, Barcelona president Joan Gaspert confirmed the deal, keeping other potential suitors vying for the teenager’s signature at bay.

Image source: Bonhams auction house
Image source: Bonhams auction house

Bonhams Auction House recently put the napkin up for auction. With a starting price of £300,000 (almost $3.8 million), the historic document sold for a whopping £762,400 ($9.7 million). However, the identity of the buyer has not been disclosed. In a press release from the auction house, Ian Ehling, Head of Fine Books and Manuscripts, said: “What a wonderful result for one of the most exciting items I have ever handled. Yes, it is a paper napkin, but it is the famous napkin that was at the beginning of Lionel Messi’s career.”

Messi’s journey to Camp Nou was not always smooth as he had experienced health problems before his move to Spain. Fortunately, with the club’s help, he overcame his health problems and stepped onto the pitch for Barcelona – a move that not only changed the club’s fortunes but also took him to great heights as a player.



He is currently the team’s all-time top scorer, with over 600 goals in official competitions. Not only that, his performances in the Blaugrana team have seen him lift prestigious trophies during his time in Spain, making him the star he is today.

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