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Diego Maradona’s infamous 1986 World Cup “Hand of God” jersey sold for a world-record fee of $9.28 million Wednesday at an auction at Sotheby’s in London, England.
The final price surpasses the previous record for a game-worn jersey, which was the $5.64 million paid in 2019 for Babe Ruth’s 1928-1930 Yankees jersey. It’s also the record price for any piece of sports memorabilia, as the original hand-drawn Olympic manifesto sold for $8.8 million in 2019 in New York.
Maradona, who passed away in November 2020, made the jersey famous during Argentina’s World Cup run in 1986, during which he scored both goals in their 2-1 win over England in the Quarter-Final. While the second goal — where Maradona dribbled through the England defense and slotted it past goalkeeper Peter Shilton — was named Goal of the Century by FIFA, the first goal is arguably more memorable.
The goal to give Argentina a 1-0 lead occurred when Maradona palmed the ball past Shilton as the two met in mid-air inside the box.
“A little from the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God,” the Argentine had said.
Maradona’s goals sent Argentina to the World Cup Final, where they defeated West Germany 3-2 to win their second World Cup. Former England midfielder Steve Hodge, who swapped shirts with Maradona after the match, had continued to turn down bids for the jersey over the years.
It’s been on display at the National Football Museum since 2002, but will now be in possession of the anonymous bidder.
“This historic shirt is a tangible reminder of an important moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectables, via ESPN. “In the weeks since we announced the auction, we have been inundated by sports fans and collectors alike, with a palpable excitement in the air for the duration of the public exhibition — and this unfiltered enthusiasm was echoed in the bidding.
“This is arguably the most coveted football shirt to ever come to auction, and so it is fitting that it now holds the auction record for any object of its kind.”
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