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A collection of 680 shirts worth 200 million euros: the secrets of Legends, the football museum opened by an Argentine in Madrid


Highlights: The Home of Football, a museum in Madrid, shows off the shirts and balls worn by the world's greatest footballers. The collection includes the shirts worn by Luis Suarez, Diego Maradona and Iker Casillas, as well as those worn by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The exhibition is open to the public and runs until the end of the month, with tickets costing from £5.50. For more information on the exhibition, visit

Marcelo Ordás exhibits his passion for shirts, boots and balls used in the matches -official and crucial- of the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Everything has value and even excites: the haloes left by sweat or the mud stains on the lawn that raised the booty. The traces of an injury or the shreds deformed by the tug of a play. Any scar on the shirts once worn by lefties and right-handers of the Olympus of world football is seen here as the stigma that every believer was waiting for beatification. "Football is not everything. It's the only thing," says Marcelo Ordás, the Argentine who turned his passion for collecting shirts, boots and balls used in the official and crucial matches of the championships and world championships of the twentieth and twenty-first century into a museum.

A stone's throw from Madrid's Puerta del Sol, Ordás took over a seven-storey building and, in partnership with Spain's LaLiga, founded Legends, The Home of Football here.

Ordás speaks of relics, treasures, sacred mantles that he began to collect in the World Cup in Italy 90. He was one of the spectators at the Estadio delle Alpi in Turin when Argentina beat Brazil with a goal from Claudio Caniggia in the 36th minute of the second half.

Ordás looks at the shirt worn by Claudio Paul Caniggia on the day he scored against Brazil in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Photo: Cézaro De Luca

From the emotion, Ordás decomposed. When he came to, he was being taken to the National Team locker room to greet the players. And like a child who is given a prize after being vaccinated, Caniggia gave him his shirt.

"It was the first relic," he says.

Even Argentina world champion in Qatar, revealed him to get one of the shirts that Leo Messi wore during the last World Cup. He succeeded: among the jewels in the crown is the one that Leo wore for the first half of Argentina-Mexico.

On Monday, June 19, Legends – the entrance costs 24 euros – had its formal opening. There were some of the former players who fed the collection, such as Mario Kempes, Claudio Caniggia, Javier Zanetti, Lothar Matthäus, Luis Figo, Gary Lineker, Hugo Sánchez and David Villa, among others. Also the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida.

Claudio Paul Caniggia and Lothar Matthaus before entering the museum containing their T-shirts. Photo: Cézaro de Luca.

In this corner of Madrid are the most difficult figurines of the tournaments of UEFA, FIFA, Conmebol.

From the shirt that Diego Maradona wore at Napoli when he beat Bayern Munich in the first leg of the semifinal of the 1988-89 UEFA Cup to which he perspired 37 years ago at the Azteca stadium, during the first half of the World Cup final in Mexico against Germany.

From the one that the Uruguayan Ángel Romano wore in 1916, when Uruguay won the Copa América that was held in Argentina, to that of the goalkeeper Iker Casillas with which Spain lifted the World Cup in South Africa 2010.

Original boots and ball used in the final of the 1930 World Cup that Uruguay won against Argentina. Photo Cézaro De Luca

From the albiceleste of Kempes in the final of the '78 World Cup against Holland to that of Pelé in Brazil-Uruguay with which he won 3 to 1 in Mexico 1970.

"Heritage (the collection) preserves balls, medals, boots, clothing, trophies and documents. And, of course, the shirts, which we consider as 'armor' in the words of Don Alfredo Di Stefano, pay tribute to each champion, finalist or, simply, participant of the most outstanding international competitions year after year.

The shirt of Guillermo Stábile, scorer of the 1930 World Cup with the Argentine National Team, coexists with the number 5 that José Luis Tata Brown pierced to hang his right thumb and suffer less the injury that almost left him out of the end of the match against Germany in the World Cup in Mexico '86.

The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez Almeida, cuts the ribbon at the inauguration of the Legens Museum with LaLiga president Javier Tebas, FIFA director Marco Fazzone and Marcelo Ordás. Photo: Cézaro de Luca.


According to specialists from Sothebys, Christie's, Juliens, and other experts, the collection has a value of around 200 million euros.

There are 680 T-shirts exhibited behind a glass that preserves them as works of the Prado Museum: at a temperature of 18 degrees and illuminated by LED lights that do not exceed 75 lumens "so that it affects the fabrics", explains to Clarín the curator of the garments. With white gloves, he was accommodating them, as if they were made of salt, on torsos of mannequins with blunt edges -that is, without a tip) specially designed for the collection.

The museum also gathers T-shirts that tell the story of the twentieth century: like the black one of the Italian champion of 1938 that the Italian-Uruguayan Michele Andreolo wore and that had embroidered, next to the shield, a fascio, the bunch of spikes that became the symbol of Benito Mussolini's Fascist Party.

The shirt worn by Néstor Clausen and pierced by Carlos Bilardo to ventilate the high heat during the 1986 Mexico World Cup, Photo: Cézaro De Luca

Or the one that the Brazilian Leonidas da Silva wore in another match of that World Cup, held in France, when Da Silva, scorer of that World Cup, lost the spoils on the way and scored the only barefoot goal in the history of this competition.

"Legends represents the necessary recovery of the heritage of the greatest passion created by human civilization: football," reads one of the panels of the museum, which is organized geographically, according to the tournaments, and enlivened by immersive experiences to, for example, feel in the stands of the main stadiums in the world.

"Legends is a factory of passion and emotion," says Ordás. A journey into one's own life. We are going to find our childhood, with our family, with that happiness to which only the world of football can teleport us." The museum, which is fed by legions of "relic hunters" who sniff T-shirts on five continents, will have offices in Buenos Aires, Miami, possibly Mexico, Asia and the East.

Lionel Messi's truck used in the Qatar 2022 World Cup against Mexico. Photo: Cézaro de Luca.

"On the football field our team can win or lose. Here they will always win because that memory directly linked to our hearts is guaranteed," preaches Ordás.

And he tells us: "In the last meeting I had with Diego (Maradona), he gave me a caress like the ones he did. He told me that I was the guardian because I dedicated myself to guarding, to taking care of the shirts of the legends that are, nothing more and nothing less, he said, those that carry our DNA, our soul.

"He showed me a book from '86 and said, 'Look at how I am now and how I was. That man was left with only the armor, the shirt.' That armor that Lothar Matthäus (the player who exchanged it with Maradona at halftime of the Argentina-Germany final in Mexico '86) so generously donated to us. That wonderful piece is a Picasso, it is a Goya that, unlike those works, has the DNA perspired by the artist", closes Ordás.

Trident. T-shirts by Michel Platini, Diego Maradona and Marco Van Basten. Photo: Cézaro De Luca


Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-06-21

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