The ball that Diego Maradona used to score the famous “Hand of God” goal for Argentina against England in the 1986 World Cup was auctioned for $2.4 million on Wednesday.
The white Adidas “Azteca” ball, owned by Tunisian match referee Ali Bin Nasser, sold for up to $3.6 million when it went under the hammer at UK-based Graham Budd Auctions.
Six months after the jersey Maradona wore in the historic quarterfinals in Mexico City sold at auction for nearly $9.3 million – more than double the value estimated by Sotheby’s.
The famous ‘Hand of God’ ball, worth an estimated £2.5-3m, represents Party 295 in our upcoming World Cup Special auction. The soccer ball was used in the memorable quarter-final match of the 1986 Mexico World Cup.
Learn more: https://t.co/cwRT5tnBAd pic.twitter.com/r78QuYs8ff
— Graham Budd Auctions Ltd (@gbauctionsltd) November 2, 2022
Inspired by the architecture and murals of the Aztec civilization, the auctioned ball was used for all 90 minutes of the match between Argentina and England in 1986, as it took place years before the multi-ball system began in football.
The conflict saw a heated escalation due to political tensions following the Falklands War in 1982 and was defined by two contrasting goals scored by the late Maradona, who died of heart failure at the age of 60 in November 2020.
In the first, Maradona rushed into the penalty area, stepped up with England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net.
He later said that the goal was scored “partly with Maradona’s head, partly with the hand of God”.
According to the 2002 FIFA poll, Maradona beat five English players and Shilton to score the “Goal of the Century”, with the second coming just four minutes later.
Argentina won 2-1 after Bin Nasser dropped Maradona’s controversial first goal and the team won the World Cup.
Prior to the sale, Bin Nasser said he felt it was the right time to share the product with the world, and expressed hope that the yet-to-be-announced buyer will showcase the product to the public.
The shirt, which was put up for auction in May, will be on display in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup, which begins Sunday.
Bin Nasser also defended Maradona’s decision to uphold the contentious first goal.
“I couldn’t see things clearly. Two players, Shilton and Maradona, were looking at me from behind.
“According to the instructions FIFA issued before the tournament, I looked at my lineman to verify the validity of the goal – he was back on the midfield line, stating that he was convinced the goal should be valid.
“At the end of the game England head coach Bobby Robson said to me, ‘You did a good job but the lineman was irresponsible.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other topics, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am, and share articles on social media. Dial 896 6000.