Diego Maradona’s shirt from the 1986 World Cup, when he scored the controversial “Hand of God” goal against England, was sold for 7.1 million pounds ($9.3 million), the highest price ever paid at auction for sports memorabilia.
Sotheby’s auctioned the garment in an online auction that ended on Wednesday. The buyer was not identified.
On June 22, 1986, four years after Argentina and Britain waged a war over the Falkland Islands, Maradona scored two goals in the quarter-final game in Mexico City. The ball had rebounded off Maradona’s fist, out of sight of the referee, and was declared a header by the referee.
It was scored “a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God,” Maradona added afterward.
Maradona dribbled the ball past practically the entire English team before beating goalie Peter Shilton for his second goal. In a FIFA poll in 2002, it was voted “goal of the century.”
Argentina went on to win the World Cup by a score of 2-1.
After the game, Maradona swapped shirts with England player Steve Hodge, who lent it to the National Football Museum in Manchester for a long time before selling it.
Maradona, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, battled cocaine addiction and other vices until passing away in November 2020 at the age of 60.
After Sotheby’s announced the upcoming auction last month, Maradona’s relatives challenged if the blue No. 10 jersey was the one he wore in the second half of the game, when he scored both goals. The identity of the garment was established by sports memorabilia photo-matching service Resolution Photomatching and validated by Sotheby’s chief science officer, according to the auction house.
The shirt is “a tangible reminder of an important moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century,” according to Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles.
The previous record for sports memorabilia was $8.8 million paid for the manifesto that began the modern Olympic movement in a December 2019 auction. In 2019, a Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey set the previous record for an item of apparel at $5.64 million.
The buyer’s premium, which is paid by the auction house, is included in the sale prices.
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