A soccer fan and his dog wear matching jerseys in Rosario, Argentina, Lionel Messi's hometown. (Franco Trovato Fuoco/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
3 min

Argentina’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over France in the 2022 World Cup final has sent fans around the world scrambling for gear to celebrate — but many might find that they’re too late. Official jerseys of the South American team, especially those bearing the name and number of its star player, Lionel Messi, are flying off shelves virtual and otherwise.

On the Adidas website, official Argentina jerseys are sold out, including Messi’s — although fans can have their pick of blue shoes, sweatshirts or an Argentina tank top. The company was struggling to keep up with demand even before the World Cup win, Reuters reported.

An updated version of the jersey, with three stars to mark Argentina’s three World Cup wins, is not yet out.

To snatch one of the coveted official blue-and-white tops, Argentina admirers might have to splurge. As of Tuesday morning, the popular resale site StockX had Argentina’s World Cup 2022 Messi jerseys listed for about $490 to $2,360, depending on the size — prices that, according to the company, reflect current demand.

StockX told The Washington Post in an email that the average price of Messi jerseys had more than doubled from November to December. The company also said sales of the top five products with “Argentina” in their name increased more than 400 percent between Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, a current Messi jersey is being auctioned on eBay with a starting bid of $1,500. Vintage gear for the Argentine team from the 1980s is going for more than $900 on the Classic Football Shirts website.

The buying frenzy might be explained by the fact that the World Cup final took place during the holiday season, a result of the unusual timing of this year’s competition in Qatar, where heat was a concern. The prices also reflect the rising popularity of collectible soccer jerseys. British magazine the Face called vintage football shirts “big business” in 2019, and some of those buyers might just have an investment in mind.

But for many, the shirts are a memento. A 2021 article in the Athletic described acquiring soccer jerseys as a way of making transient sports memories feel more tangible. “Every goal is a fleeting moment that isn’t coming back, but a shirt that might remind you of that moment is always there,” Nick Miller wrote.

Messi’s goals on Sunday night — which made him the first player to score in every round of the World Cup — are moments supporters will want to hold on to.

Even his Instagram post showing the elated first-time World Cup victor holding the trophy has received overwhelming attention. It is now reportedly the most-liked photo posted by an athlete on Instagram, toppling a post by the Argentine star’s longtime rival, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal.

Argentina jerseys with two gold stars above the national soccer federation’s logo are in especially high demand. With every World Cup win, teams are allowed to add a star to their jerseys, and Argentina had previously taken home the trophy in 1978 and 1986. For those seeking a relic from before 2022’s nail-biter final, the two-starred version has taken on an “I knew them before they were cool” energy — like having a T-shirt from a now-famous band’s first tour.

Jerseys bearing three stars are sure to hit the market soon and, if the past is prologue, Messi’s are bound to go quickly. Last summer, his Paris Saint-Germain jersey sold out online in just 30 minutes. Football fanatics will, like Messi himself, have to move fast.

World Cup in Qatar

World champions: Argentina has won the World Cup, defeating France in penalty kicks in a thrilling final in Lusail, Qatar, for its first world championship since 1986. Argentina was led by global soccer star Lionel Messi in what is expected to be his final World Cup appearance. France was bidding to become the first repeat champion since Brazil won consecutive trophies in 1958 and 1962.

Today’s WorldView: In the minds of many critics, especially in the West, Qatar’s World Cup will always be a tournament shrouded in controversy. But Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, wants people to take another view.

Perspective: “America is not a men’s soccer laughingstock right now. It’s onto something, and it’s more attuned to what’s working for the rest of the world rather than stubbornly forcing an American sports culture — without the benefit of best-of-the-best talent — into international competition.” Read Jerry Brewer on the U.S. men’s national team’s future.