Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Ronaldo’s New Clothes

Online equivalent of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ set to occur at Bonhams today with auction of £900,000 NFT of Cristiano Ronaldo

In October 2020, when we featured the story of auctioneers Christie’s selling five waste bins for the frankly beyond bonkers sum of £33,900 ($45,400, €39,600 or درهم166,800), we thought we’d found the ultimate in ridiculous rubbish. It turns out we hadn’t and today go one further.


An online auction finishing this afternoon of ‘something and nothing’ at Bonhams will conclude and frankly it is an auction that is akin to the story of the vain emperor featured in Hans Christian Anderson’s literary folktale The Emperor’s New Clothes. It is an auction featuring a single lot and that lot is a non-fungible token (NFT) of Cristiano Ronaldo.


Describing what they are trying to sell, Bonhams remark:


“Now, a one-of-a-kind Cristiano Ronaldo NFT trading card, minted by Sorare, a digital fantasy football game, is coming to Bonhams for an exclusive online sale, Cristiano Ronaldo: One of a Kind, between 1st and 11th November. It is estimated to sell for £597,000 to £896,000 ($800,000 to $1.2 million, €697,000 to €1 million or درهم2.9 million to درهم4.4 million). Crypto currency Ethereum will be accepted.”


“The present NFT is the only unique card of Ronaldo minted for the 2020/2021 season and is officially licenced by the player and his team. It shows him in the black and white kit of Juventus but remains usable in the game despite Ronaldo’s transfer to Manchester United.”


“Sorare is a fantasy game of football, where players buy, sell, trade, and manage a virtual team with digital playing cards. The game uses blockchain technology based on Ethereum and was developed in 2018 by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montford. As with traditional fantasy football, the teams are ranked based on the performance of their players on the real-world football pitch.”


“The supply of cards is limited and use of the blockchain means that digital cards have provable scarcity. They come in three formats: unique (1 of 1), super rare (1 of 10) and rare (1 of 100). The Ronaldo card on offer is unique and, as one the greatest players of the modern era, arguably the most desirable card in the game.”


The item offered today featured in something called a “bundled auction” on the sports-fantasy exchange Sorare in February this year at a price of £71,800 ($96,200, €83,000 or درهم353,200). It was linked to someone going by the name of ‘VictorNettoyeur’ and, if it achieves its upper estimate of £896,000 ($1.2 million, €1 million or درهم4.4 million) this afternoon, will be hammered down at a sum 1,148% higher than in February.


In a description of the ‘item’ shared online, head of digital art at Bonhams, Nima Sagharchi, commented:


“Sports trading cards have been valued and collected for over a century, and 2021 is very much the year of the sports card with physical cards representing Lebron James, Luka Doncic and Tom Brady each already having sold for millions of dollars.”


“Sorare presents us with the natural evolution of this format, a fantasy trading card game in digital form with cards that accrue rewards. Bonhams has always aimed to push boundaries in our sales and to be the first auction house to offer an NFT of this kind is a very exciting prospect, particularly as this NFT is of the great Cristiano Ronaldo.”


“The excitement felt up and down the nation when he returned to the Premier League in September was palpable – we felt an equal excitement learning that he would be coming to Bonhams.”


This ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ of auctions ends at 3pm GMT today and the current bid is unsurprisingly nowhere near that pitch victory sum, but unbelievably still a crackpot crazy £239,000 ($320,000, €279,000 or درهم1.2 million).


Cristiano Ronaldo shirtless
Cristiano Ronaldo is considered a bit of a God on the pitch and a bit of a sex symbol off it. Now, he might make it into the realms of digital art history if an NFT of him sells for £896,000 ($1.2 million, €1 million or درهم4.4 million).
Beeple Everydays The First 5000 Days
In March this year, Christie’s achieved the utterly unbelievable after hammering down a non-fungible token by the artist Beeple (born 1981) for the completely crazy sum of £51.5 million ($69.3 million, €60.2 million or درهم253.4 million). At the time, of the lot, Noah Davis, a specialist in post-war and contemporary art at the auction house, remarked: “He showed us this collage, and that was my eureka moment when I knew this was going to be extremely important. It was just so monumental and so indicative of what NFTs can do.”
Christie's expensive waste paper bins
Christie’s also achieved the “monumental” in selling five waste bins for £33,900 ($45,400, €39,600 or درهم166,800) in October 2020. They had been ffered with an estimate of just £230 to £390 ($300 to $500, €260 to €430 or درهم1,100 to درهم1,800) to reflect that they had been supplied by the late French interior designer Henri Samuel – a man “hailed by Architectural Digest as a ‘supreme master of progressive historicism.’” The 20th century faux wood grain and cream painted bins were supplied with Italian marbelised paper linings and had been owned by the late American socialite and philanthropist Jayne Wrightsman.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. This is utterly ridiculous. There are people starving on the streets and there is a moron who has already bid £240k for this junk. Shame on them, shame on the,

  2. I think that we live in a fully immersed holographic illusion game called ‘Ego-Play for Fantasists’ and Boris got his Dad to buy him the England card. We are in Chapter One at the moment called Brexit Folly. Chapter Two will see if a convened gaggle of dim, tight buttock-ed and peripherally challenged miss-fits can steer a successfully thinned out and economically destroyed populace into yodeling God-save St Gove whilst all standing on one’s head in the middle of the road with one’s tights filled with sand.


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