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Did Matty Cash Get Messi's 999th Game Shirt?

Matty Cash came up against Argentina and France at the World Cup with Poland and walked away with the shirts of Messi and Mbappé, although one is a lot more valuable than the other.

Matty Cash's World Cup Shirt Collection

Aston Villa defender Matty Cash has had a pretty good year. Behind a long list of English right backs in the pecking order, Cash found another way to make it to the World Cup. Thanks to his mother's side of the family, Cash was able to get a Polish passport last October, made his debut a month later and was in the starting XI for all of Poland's games in Qatar.

Although they were eliminated by France in the round of 16, there was something of a happy ending to it for Cash as he swapped jerseys with Kylian Mbappé after the game. Cash had had the unenviable task of marking the rapid PSG forward during the match, so of all of the Polish players who would have liked to swap shirts with Mbappé, Cash can say he deserved it the most. The Frenchman must have felt the same, as he doesn't give his shirt to just anyone. Just ask Australia forward Jason Cummings, whose request for a swap Mbappé denied after France's tournament opener.

Cash also managed to snag a Messi shirt after Poland's 2-0 loss to Argentina in the final group stage game, but rather than the typical post match exchange between two players, this one came via a third party. Argentina and Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez gifted his clubmate a blue and white striped jersey with Messi's name and number on the back.

“Playing against Messi and Mbappé in the space of four days is a learning curve. It’s a boy’s dream to play in a major tournament against these types of players, and to get their shirts.”

Argentina wore their purple away kit against Poland so Cash would have understood straight away that it wasn't Messi's match-worn shirt, but he was still very happy to have the special souvenir. It was revealed back in March that 200-300 Messi shirts are printed ahead of every Argentina game, such is the demand for them from backroom staff, teammates and their families, corporate sponsors and of course, opposition players. The source of this information? Emi Martinez. It's only right that he should then be the man to give his Villa teammate one of them.

So his Messi shirt isn't match-worn. Still, not a bad haul for Matty Cash. A couple of years ago he probably thought he'd never get to play at a World Cup, now he's returning home from one with the shirts of two of the best players on the planet having marked both of them. He should have grabbed a Lewandowski Poland shirt from the changing room while he was at it.

Do you have any match-worn shirts in your collection? Which player's jersey would you most like to own? let us know in the comments.