He’s already been the recipient of the Golden Boot but now Lionel Messi has a golden foot.
The 25-year-old soccer phenom, who plies his trade for Barcelona and Argentina, has had a pure gold replica of his left foot unveiled in Tokyo, and it goes on sale this Thursday. It has been created by the jeweller Ginza Tanaka, and is valued at a not inconsiderable $5.25 million (which doesn’t remotely resemble what the true worth of his left peg would actually cost should he ever leave Barcelona). Tanaka, according to the BBC, wanted to celebrate the man voted the world’s best soccer player for the past four years in a row. “We loved the sound of making the ‘golden left foot,’ and it being gold, it was our goal to make the project of recreating Messi’s left foot a reality,” said Masakazu Tanaka, president of the company behind the foot.
Messi’s foot was cast at the end of 2012 and some of the proceeds will go to his foundation, and help children in areas affected by Japan’s natural disasters in 2011. Messi’s brother, Rodrigo, attended the unveiling, and said, “It’s exceptional, you can see each line on the foot.” As for the man himself, in a video message, Messi said that “I’m honored to have my foot recreated in pure gold.” The sculpture weighs 25kg and is 25cm tall and 28cm wide.
Considering that Messi is viewed by many as – ahem – a 24-carat genius, it might not be a surprise to learn that there are a couple of other pieces inspired by the player on offer. His golden footprint is available for $95,000, and the “Golden Foot Mini” – half as big as the main foot – is up for grabs at $42,000. Clearly, Messi remains the gold standard on or off the field.
(TIME COVER STORY: Lionel Messi’s Final Goal)