The ball that Diego Maradona used to score his infamous “Hand of God” World Cup goal for Argentina against England in 1986 will go under the hammer next month and could fetch up to £3 million ($3.4m).
Bidding will start on November 16 – two days before the opening game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – but prospective buyers can register online from October 28, London-based Graham Budd Auctions said.
“With the history surrounding the ball, we are expecting this lot to be hugely popular when it comes up for auction,” Graham Budd, chair of the auction house, said in a statement.
The 1986 quarter-final between Argentina and England saw a heated build-up because of political tensions following the Falklands war and came to be defined by two contrasting goals scored by the late Maradona.
For the first one, Maradona ran into the box, rose with England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net.
He later said the goal had been scored “a little with the head of Maradona, a little with the hand of God”.
Diego Maradona punches the ball past Peter Shilton of England to score the opening goal of the World Cup Quarter Final at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in 1986. Photo: Bongarts
The second came just four minutes later as Maradona sped past five English defenders and Shilton to score the “Goal of the Century”, according to a 2002 Fifa poll.
Argentina won the grudge match 2-1 after referee Ali Bin Nasser let Maradona’s controversial first goal stand, and the team went on to win the World Cup in Mexico.
“This ball is part of international football history, it feels like the right time to be sharing it with the world,” said Bin Nasser, the owner of the ball.
In May, the jersey Maradona wore in the quarter-final sold at auction for nearly $9.3 million, more than twice the value predicted by Sotheby’s.
But the record-setting sale for sports memorabilia worn on the field was surpassed in September when basketball legend Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA finals jersey sold for $10.1 million.
Maradona died aged 60 of heart failure in November 2020.
A Sotheby’s art handler poses with the shirt worn by the late Argentinian great Diego Maradona during the 1986 World Cup, ahead of it being auctioned by Sotheby’s in London on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Reuters
Updated: October 14, 2022, 4:40 AM