Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ shirt has sold for a record-breaking £7.1million – making it the most expensive item of sports memorabilia ever to sell at auction.
The diminutive playmaker’s shirt from the 1986 World Cup win against England – a game in which he scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal and the ‘Goal of the Century’ – has been sold to an anonymous bidder at Sotheby’s on Wednesday afternoon.
The late football icon swapped shirts with England midfielder Steve Hodge after full time and he has been in possession of the treasured item for the last 35 years.
An Argentinian delegation, consisting of Maradona’s family, a private memorabilia firm, and the country’s football association, are understood to have arrived in London in a bid to buy the £5m shirt themselves.
It is not yet known who won the prized item.
One member told the Sun: ‘He is selling something that belongs to Maradona and the AFA without authorisation.
‘It should be in Argentina in order that all Argentines can enjoy it, and not for a millionaire to display it in his closet.’
Maradona’s status as a superstar was cemented in that quarter-final in 1986.
Argentina won the game 2-1, with their diminutive talisman deceiving the referee by using his hand to score what appeared to the official to be a header.
Hodge was involved in the incident, passing the ball back to the goalkeeper before Maradona used his cunning to leap and reach the ball with his hand.
Afterward, the player famously said it was scored ‘a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God’.
His other strike in the game was voted ‘Goal of the Century’ in a FIFA poll and saw him dribble around almost the entire England team before slotting the ball past Peter Shilton.
It was the most famous game in the career of a footballing genius, who was 25 at the time and went on to help his side win the tournament in Mexico.