Diego Maradona ‘hand of God’ shirt sold for record £7.1m at auction | Diego Maradona

The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored twice – including the “hand of God” goal – to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup has sold for a record-breaking sum at auction.

The Argentinian described his opening goal in the quarter-final as “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”. For his second he dribbled past a host of England players and beat Peter Shilton to score what would later be voted the goal of the century.

The England midfielder Steve Hodge, who had unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona before the handball goal, swapped shirts with his rival after the game and has owned the blue No 10 jersey ever since. It has spent the past 20 years on loan at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

The shirt on display at Sotheby's in London
The shirt on display at Sotheby’s in London. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

On Wednesday the shirt sold at Sotheby’s for £7,142,500, a new auction record for an item of sports memorabilia.

The auction house described the lot as in “good overall condition consistent with heavy use, perspiration and athletic activity” with “slight dethreading on hemming on the front bottom of shirt, and minor spots throughout”.

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, said: “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.

“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.”

The game came four years after the UK had defeated Argentina in the Falklands war and took on great significance for both countries as a result.

In his autobiography, Maradona – who died in November 2020 at the age of 60 – said: “It was like beating a country, not a football team.”

The previous auction record for sports memorabilia was the original autographed manuscript of the Olympic manifesto from 1892, which sold at Sotheby’s for $8.8m (£7.05m at today’s exchange rate) in December 2019.

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