An Argentinian delegation has launched a last-minute bid to get Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ shirt going under the hammer for £5million at auction today.
Wealthy bidders are set to buy the playmaker’s shirt from the 1986 World Cup win against England, a game in which he scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal and the ‘Goal of the Century’.
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.
But 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 £5m shirt themselves.
One member told the Sun: ‘He is selling something that belongs to Maradona and the AFA without authorisation.
‘It should be in Argentina in order all Argentines can enjoy it, and not for a millionaire to display it in his closet.’
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables, said the two goals ‘balance each other brilliantly’ and reveal two facets of Maradona’s character.
The first ‘was really cunning and did involve an element of luck,’ he said. ‘But then he scored a second goal, which was one of the most unbelievable – almost angelic – goals ever.’
Argentina won the match 2-1 and went on to win the World Cup. Maradona, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, struggled with cocaine abuse and other excesses and died in November 2020 at age 60.
After the game, Maradona swapped shirts with England midfielder Steve Hodge, who never sold it, until now.
For the past 20 years, it has been on loan to England’s National Football Museum in Manchester.
Hodge previously revealed how he went about acquiring the shirt. He said: ‘I was walking down the tunnel and Maradona was coming in the opposite direction. I just tugged my shirt and we swapped there and then.’
He has now revealed why he is selling the iconic shirt. He said: ‘I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years, since Diego and I swapped shirts in the tunnel after the famed match.
‘It was an absolute privilege to have played against one of the greatest and most magnificent football players of all time.
‘It has also been a pleasure to share it with the public over the last 20 years at the National Football Museum, where it has been on display.
‘The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural meaning to the football world, the people of Argentina, and the people of England and I’m certain that the new owner will have immense pride in owning the world’s most iconic football shirt.’