Diego Maradona‘s infamous ‘Hand of God’ shirt sold today for a record-breaking £7.1million – making it the most expensive item of sports memorabilia ever to sell at auction.
The diminutive player’s shirt, worn when he scored two momentous goals to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup, including the so-called ‘Hand of God’ goal, sold to an anonymous bidder at Sotheby’s this 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.
The shirt, which has spent the last 20 years on loan at the National Football Museum in Manchester, went under the hammer at Sotheby’s on Wednesday afternoon for £7,142,500 – marking a new auction record for any item of sports memorabilia.
The previous record for any sports memorabilia was the original autograph manuscript of the Olympic Manifesto from 1892, which sold at Sotheby’s for $8.8 million in December 2019.
The previous record for a game worn shirt was held by Babe Ruth’s Yankees road Jersey, sold for $5.64 million in 2019.
The auction house described the famous blue number 10 jersey on its website as in ‘good overall condition consistent with heavy use, perspiration and athletic activity’ with ‘slight de-threading on hemming on the front bottom of shirt, and minor spots throughout’.
Today, 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 shirt themselves. It is not yet known who won the prized sports memorabilia.
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.
Afterwards 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.