New York (AFP), April 6 – The jersey worn by Diego Maradona when he scored two goals against England at the 1986 World Cup, including the infamous ‘hand of God’ goal, is to be auctioned this month, it has been announced Sotheby’s Wednesday.
The number 10 blue shirt has belonged since the end of the controversial World Cup encounter to opposing midfielder Steve Hodge, who swapped shirts with Maradona after England lost 2-1.
The quarter-final showdown, one of the most memorable in World Cup history, held special significance for Argentina as it took place just four years after the defeat in the Falklands War.
The match became etched in football folklore for Maradona’s two goals – one notorious and one sublime – in Mexico City’s seething Aztec Stadium.
The first came shortly after half-time when Hodge, at the edge of the England penalty area, intercepted a pass and returned the ball towards goal.
Maradona, running into the box, got up with England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and kicked the ball into the net.
England were furious and complained to the officials who, believing Maradona had headed the ball, let the goal stand.
Maradona then sparked controversy by saying the goal was scored “a bit with Maradona’s head, a bit with the hand of God”.
Four minutes later Maradona struck again and this time there was no doubt.
Receiving the ball and turning in his own half, Maradona left five England defenders in his wake before moving past Shilton and heading home for a strike that was voted ‘Goal of the Century’ in a FIFA poll in 2002.
– National hero –
Argentina won the final to lift the World Cup for the second time in eight years and Maradona, already a superstar, became revered in his home country.
After his death from a heart attack in 2020, Argentina held three days of national mourning.
Hodge, whose autobiography is called ‘The Man in the Maradona Shirt’, has loaned the shirt for the past 20 years for public display at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
Sotheby’s said in a statement to AFP that it would hold its own public display of the jersey in London, during the online auction scheduled for April 20-May 4.
The decision to keep it accessible to the public will rest with the winning bidder.
Oscar Garre, Maradona’s teammate in 1986, told AFP on Wednesday “it would be nice to have it (the jersey) in Argentina”, especially at the Argentine Football Association (AFA).
“While a lot of guys have worn the national team shirt with great courage, honor and respect, Diego’s is unique, the most iconic football has ever had,” he said. .
Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, said “the list goes on for the type of people or organizations that might want to own the item.”
“It could be an individual, it could be a museum, it could just be someone who wants to own the best of the best, a football fan or a club.”
Bidding for Maradona memorabilia will start at £4 million ($5.2 million), below the record of $5.6 million for game-worn shirts set in 2019 for a jersey that Babe Ruth wore while at the New York Yankees.
Last year, a jersey worn in the 1950s by Brooklyn Dodgers star Jackie Robinson – Major League Baseball’s first black player – sold for $4.2 million.