The boots Lionel Messi wore when he broke the one-club goalscoring record have brought in £125,000 ($175,000) at auction, with all the proceeds going to Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebrón Hospital where it will be used to “help children with cancer or other serious illnesses, as well as their families.”
Messi, 33, scored his 644th goal for Barcelona in last December’s 3-0 win over Real Valladolid. The strike carried him past Brazil legend Pele, who netted 643 times for Santos, as the player to have scored the most goals for a single club.
– Toe Poke: Messi No. 1 in Top 10 one-club scorers
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– ESPN+ viewer’s guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more
The boots, donated by Adidas and Messi, were exhibited in Cataluña’s Museum of Art (MNAC) in Barcelona earlier this year. The auction, which began on April 19 with a starting price of £40,000, concluded on Friday with a late flurry of bids that tripled the price in the final hour. Auction house Christie’s estimated the boots would sell for £50,000-£70,000.
“Reaching the historic milestone of 644 goals with the same club gives me a lot of joy, but what’s really more important is being able to give something back to the kids struggling with their health,” Messi said ahead of the auction. “We hope this will raise a lot of awareness for this great cause.”
Messi’s boot fetched more than double for charity than the captain’s armband that Cristiano Ronaldo angrily threw to the ground during Portugal’s World Cup qualifier against Serbia earlier this year.
Ronaldo’s armband was sold to an unidentified bidder for $75,000 (£53,000) at a charity auction, Serbian state TV reported in April. However, Mario Gotze’s 2014 World Cup-winning boot, with which he scored the winning goal vs. Argentina, fetched much more, selling for €2m ($2.45 million) during a televised charity auction.