Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona
Bidding for "the world's most famous napkin" will close on May 17 Brendan McDermid/Via Reuters

SEATTLE - If you are a huge Lionel Messi fan, a piece of his legendary career could be yours if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to spare.

Bidding for the napkin on which the Argentine penned a promise to sign for Barcelona went on auction on May 8, with early bids reaching almost $300,000 according to information from Reuters.

The napkin served as Messi's first commitment with Barcelona, which was signed in December of 2000 when Carles Rexach, a former Barcelona sporting director, agreed with agent Horacio Gaggiolo to recruit the then 13-year-old from Argentina who went on to become the club's greatest player ever.

The napkin read as follows:

"In Barcelona, on 14 December 2000 and in the presence of Messrs Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, FC Barcelona's sporting director, hereby agrees, under his responsibility and regardless of any dissenting opinions, to sign the player Lionel Messi, provided that we keep to the amounts agreed upon,"

After informally agreeing to sign Messi, the deal was later ratified by club president Joan Gaspart. A month after both parties met at the Pompeia Tennis Club, Barcelona completed the signing of Messi.

That same napkin is now on auction with bidding open until May 17. Even though it wasn't an official contract, the piece of paper holds an emotional and sentimental value due to the way things unfolded.

Auction house Bonhams describes the item as "blue ink on a standard Spanish waxy napkin," and it opened the bidding at more than $270,000, according to the auctioneer's website.

The Argentine made his debut for Barcelona three years after the napkin was signed and he went on to score more than 600 goals for the Catalan club, winning 35 titles in the process.

"If you love football, you'll know all about Lionel Messi and you will know that he defined football for generations. If you want a slice of that action, this is the thing to get," said Bonhams Chief Marketing Officer Mark Sands.

As its been a trend since the Argentine won the 2022 World Cup, the chance of owning a piece of Messi memorabilia has seen people playing huge amounts of money for a piece of history.

Last December, six jerseys worn by Messi during Argentina's World Cup run sold for a total of $7.8 million.

Even though that sounds like a lot of money, Messi's items fell short from the record for a game-worn item of sports memorabilia. In 2022 Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA Finals jersey sold for $10.1 million and Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal jersey worn during heroic 1986 World Cup campaign sold for $9.28 million in May 2022.

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