There are days that seem very ordinary, but they contain moments that can become a landmark, starting an extraordinary journey that people will remember forever. December 14, 2000 was one of those days. At the Club de Tennis Pompeia canteen, a meeting took place between 2 members of FC Barcelona’s leadership, Carles Rexach and Maria Minguella, and Lionel Messi’s agent at the time, Horacio Gaggioli, with only one purpose: to bring the 13-year-old Argentine boy to Camp Nou as soon as possible.
Messi’s first contract with Barcelona was written on a lunch napkin.
However, Messi’s first contract with Barcelona was not a professional one. Everything was written on a lunch napkin. It stated: “With the presence of Josep Maria Minguella and Horacio Gaggioli, Carles Rexach, the sports director of FC Barcelona, commits to signing a contract with Lionel Messi as soon as the terms being negotiated reach an agreement.”
Furthermore, the lunch napkin also stated that FC Barcelona would be responsible for paying for Messi’s growth hormone, which is necessary for the development of this young talent.
Messi joined Barcelona at the age of only 13.
Fast forward to 2024, that lunch napkin once again attracts attention when it is put up for auction. According to La Vanguardia, this memorabilia has been carefully stored in a safe until it was entrusted to Bonhams by Horacio Gaggioli. However, the initial plan was to exhibit this lunch napkin in the Barcelona museum, but it could not become a reality due to a lack of agreement among the parties involved.
Mr. Ian Ehling, Head of Books and Manuscripts at Bonhams, said that this lunch napkin is one of the most interesting items he has ever dealt with. “Yes, it’s just a lunch napkin, but it’s a famous lunch napkin associated with Lionel Messi’s career. It changed his life, changed the future of Messi and FC Barcelona, and contributed significantly to creating many glorious moments in football for billions of fans around the world.”