The Argentine national team jersey worn by Diego Maradona against England in the 1986 Mexico football World Cup finals has been auctioned off Wednesday for £ 7,142,500 after nearly ten bids.
Argentina won that quarter-final match 2-1 en route to their second-ever world title. Maradona scored both goals and they both made history. First, it was the opener, known as the Hand of God goal in which he pushed the ball home with the tip of his fingers in a move that took England keeper Peter Shilton and everybody else by surprise, followed by the Goal of the Century, where he dribbled past the entire English defense from behind the center-line.
The auction organized by Sotheby's ended Wednesday, May 4 at noon (Argentine time), with bidding turning very intense in the last minutes.
After two weeks, there was just one single bid of £ 4 million. With 15 minutes to go, a new bid was made for £ 4.2 million and bids came in as follows: 4.5 million, 4.8, 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0. When the website closed the auction, a new, higher figure appeared: £ 7,142,500 (US$ 8.9 million).
Former England player Steve Hodge had asked Maradona for the shirt. He gave it to England's National Football Museum which has now decided to sell it. Sotheby's Brahm Wachter had foreseen it would sell for £ 6 million.
Although the name of the winning bidder was undisclosed, it was confirmed that it was somebody from the Middle East.
The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural significance to the football world, the people of Argentina and the people of England and I'm sure the new owner will take enormous pride in owning the most iconic jersey in the world, Hodge explained.
Sotheby's used ten images to certify that the shirt they were auctioning was the one worn by Maradona during the second half of the match.
But Diego's ex-wife Claudia Villafañe and their daughter Dalma Maradona claim to have the original jersey, saying that the one Hodge had was the one stemming from the goalless first half of the match.
”You have no way of proving that it's the one from the second half. He's lying! I'll explain. He (Hodge) doesn't have the shirt from the two goals, but he can't say that because the other one is much more valuable, which is the one he doesn't have. There is one from the first half and one from the second half. Nobody can prove that the change existed, Dalma Maradona underlined.
It is going to be the word of this ex-player against ours. At that match, there were two jerseys, a very rare jersey because there was no blue jersey. The one this gentleman has is the one from the first half, anyway, if he wants to auction it off it's a sin. I don't think this player needs the money unless he wants to auction it to do some good deed. Diego would never have allowed it, added Villafañe.