The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored two of the world’s most memorable goals, to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup, has been sold for more than £7m at auction.
During the quarter-final at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico, the ball clearly hit the Argentina player‘s arm before nestling in the net for the first goal, which became known as the ‘Hand of God’.
At the time, the forward described the goal as being made “a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God”.
The match also saw the footballing great, who died in 2020, score the “goal of the century” when he dribbled past a host of England players before netting against goalkeeper Peter Shilton in a 2-1 victory in Mexico City en route to his team winning the tournament.
The shirt was sold for £7,142,500 – marking a new auction record for an item of sports memorabilia, according to Sotheby’s.
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables, said there was “unfiltered enthusiasm” during the bidding.
He said: “This historic shirt is a tangible reminder of an important moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century.
“In the weeks since we announced the auction we have been inundated by sports fans and collectors alike, with a palpable excitement in the air for the duration of the public exhibition – and this unfiltered enthusiasm was echoed in the bidding.
“This is arguably the most coveted football shirt to ever come to auction, and so it is fitting that it now holds the auction record for any object of its kind.”
The shirt came from the collection of English midfielder Steve Hodge, who had unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona ahead of the ‘Hand of God’ moment.
Hodge was the player with whom Maradona had swapped shirts after the match.
It was early in the second half when Maradona beat Shilton to the ball and used his hand to direct the ball past the England goalkeeper into the net.
The moment would outrage England fans for years to come – but no one could deny the Argentine’s brilliance four minutes later when he collected the ball near the halfway line and beat five England players before slotting home.
If the ‘Hand of God’ goal had happened today, it would almost certain be ruled out by VAR.
Gary Lineker would give England hope with a goal later in the half, but manager Bobby Robson’s side were unable to find the equaliser.
It comes after Maradona’s eldest daughter had cast doubt on the authenticity of the shirt, telling Argentinian radio station Metro the shirt being auctioned was worn in the first half – and not the second when the goals were scored.
But Sotheby’s told Forbes an independent company had carried out analysis using photos taken of the player in the second half – and that the authenticity was never questioned when the shirt was on display at the National Football Museum for 20 years.