Maradona 'Hand of God' shirt sale to go ahead despite dispute over authenticity

The jersey the Argentine wore when he scored the controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal in 1986 is expected to fetch more than £4m at auction

Diego Maradona scores the controversial goal against England in a 1986 World Cup quarter-final clash. Photo:
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Auction house Sotheby’s said the sale of Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” shirt will go ahead later this month despite the footballer’s daughter casting doubt on its authenticity.

The auctioneer said it had commissioned tests to prove the shirt was worn by the Argentine when he scored the controversial goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England. The goal was followed by one of the tournament’s best ever when he dribbled past half of the England team.

Dalma Maradona, the player’s daughter, claimed that the shirt being put up for sale was one he wore during the goalless first 45 minutes before changing shirts for the dramatic second half.

But auctioneers Sotheby's strongly rebutted Dalma's claims on Thursday, saying an external company had provided a “conclusive photo-match” that proved it was authentic.

The shirt is being sold by Steve Hodge, the former England player, who says that Maradona swapped shirts with him at the end of the game in Mexico City.

The title of his 2010 autobiography — The Man with Maradona's Shirt — references the swap at the end of the game. It is set to fetch more than £4m ($5.2m) during a two-week online auction that starts on April 20.

Dalma maintains that the jersey her father wore in the second half was in the hands of another owner, but declined to name them.

“It is not that one. I don't want to say who has it because it's crazy. He [Diego Maradona] said it. He said, 'How am I going to give him the shirt of my life?' This former player thinks he has my dad's second-half jersey, but it is a mix-up. He has the one from the first half,” she told reporters.

In separate comments to Channel 13 television, Dalma said “we wanted to clarify that so that people who want to buy it know the truth".

Sotheby’s confirmed that Maradona, who died in 2020, wore two different shirts during the game but insisted they were selling the right one.

“Prior to putting this shirt for sale, we did extensive diligence and scientific research on the item to make sure it was the shirt worn by Maradona in the second half for the two goals.”

The photo-matching process had involved matching the shirt “to both goals, examining unique details on various elements of the item, including the patch, stripes and numbering.”

Maradona himself also wrote about the shirt swap in his 2016 memoir about the 1986 World Cup.

“On the way to the locker room, one of the English guys — it turned out to be Hodge, but I wasn't sure at the time — asked me to swap jerseys with him. I said yes and we did,” he wrote.

Maradona scored the controversial goal after punching the ball into the net in an aerial battle with the much taller England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

The Argentine later claimed the goal was scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God” and thus ensured its position in football folklore.

Maradona’s two goals ensured that Argentina beat England 2-1 in the match and went on to win the tournament for a second time.

The shirt has been on display at England's National Football Museum for the past two decades.

Updated: April 08, 2022, 11:50 AM

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