‘Hand of God’ shirt could fetch £4m at auction and become most expensive shirt ever – SportsLogos.Net News

Football memorabilia collectors may need their own divine intervention if they are to get their hands on the shirt in which Diego Maradona scored his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal.

Luxury auction house Sotheby’s announced this week that it will sell the jersey online from the end of the month. It is expected to fetch at least £4 million (US$5.22 million), which would make it by far the most expensive football shirt ever sold at auction. The record is currently held by Pelé’s jersey from 1970 World Cup Finalwhich sold for £157,750 in January 2002 (about US$222,400 at the time).

The jersey could also eclipse the record for most expensive souvenir in all of sport. This currently belongs to a New York Yankees jersey worn by Babe Ruth sometime between 1928 and 1930, which sold at auction for US$5.64 million in June 2019.

On June 22, 1986, Argentina faced England in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup in front of 114,850 spectators at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Six minutes into the second half, England midfielder Steve Hodge misplayed a ball in his own half, and he looped into the England penalty area. Maradona and England keeper Peter Shilton both jumped on it, and Maradona sent the ball into the net with his left hand. But, from his point of view, the referee believed that Maradona had directed him; he let the goal stand and Argentina took a 1–0 lead.

After the match, Maradona said the goal had been scored “A poco with the cabeza de Maradona and another poco with the mano de Dios” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”).

Diego Maradona and Peter Shilton just before the ‘Hand of God’ goal found its way into the England net. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Maradona scored again in the 55th minute and Argentina won 2-1. There was no doubting the legality of his second goal, however, as he dribbled 60 yards and past four England defenders before outplaying Shilton and heading home the “goal of the century.”

After the match, Hodge met Maradona near the locker room and asked him to swap shirts. Maradona agreed and Hodge had remained the sole owner of the shirt until he decided to put it up for sale recently. He had been loaned to National Football Museum in Manchester, England, since 2002.

“I looked him in the eye, I pulled my shirt as if to say ‘any chance to trade? “, and he came straight up, said a prayer, and we swapped shirts. And that was it. It was as simple as that,” Hodge reportedly said in the announcement on the Sotheby’s website.

Sadly, Maradona passed away at his home in Argentina on November 25, 2020, at the age of 60. He did, however, eventually admit to using the hand to score the goal in his 2000 autobiography, Yo be el Diego:

“Ahora sí puedo contar lo que en aquel momento no podía, lo que en aquel momento definí as “La mano de Dios”… ¿Qué mano de Dios? ¡fue la mano del Diego!”

“Now I can say what I couldn’t say at that time, what I defined at that time as the Hand of God. What hand of God? It was Diego’s hand!

Diego Maradona celebrates with the World Cup trophy after Argentina beat West Germany 3-2 in the 1986 World Cup final. (Courtesy Fifa)

The shirts that Argentina wore against England have a whole story in themselves. The team initially arrived in Mexico with blue cotton travel kits, but found the material uncomfortable in the hot sun. After beating Uruguay 1-0 in the round of 16, manager Carlos Bilardo sent one of his coaches to shops in Mexico City to find lighter shirts.

The coach came back with two options that weighed virtually the same, and team officials couldn’t decide between them. It was then that Maradona appeared, showed one of them and allegedly said, “It’s a nice jersey. We will beat England in this area.

The coach then returned to the store and bought 38 shirts. Makeshift Argentine Football Association crests have been sewn onto the front and silver numbers originally intended for American football shirts have been ironed onto the back.

After defeating England, Argentina defeated Belgium in the semi-finals and West Germany in the final to win their second World Cup. Maradona finished the tournament with five goals and won the Ballon d’Or, awarded to the tournament’s best player.

The auction will run exclusively online from April 20 to May 4, during which time the shirt will also be on display at Sotheby’s New Bond Street gallery in London, England.

Courtesy of photo Sotheby’s

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