The ball used when Diego Maradona scored his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup has been auctioned off by the Tunisian referee who was in charge of the game and missed football’s most famous handball.
Graham Budd Auctions said on Thursday they expect the 36-year-old Adidas ball, which referee Ali Bin Nasser owns, to fetch between $2.7 million and $3.3 million when it goes on sale in Britain on Nov. 16. is offered, four days before the World Cup in Qatar begins.
The goal that gave Argentina a 1-0 lead in the quarter-final against England in Mexico City has become part of the World Cup legend. Maradona jumped as if to head the ball, but instead shot it past goalkeeper Peter Shilton. England players protested against Nasser, but the goal stood. Maradona joked afterwards that it was scored “a little bit with the head of Maradona and a little bit with the hand of God”, leading to his iconic name.
Maradona used the same ball, the only one used in the quarterfinals, for his brilliant second goal four minutes later. The Argentine superpower ran 68 yards from his own half and made his way past half of the English team before letting the ball slide past Shilton. That goal was named World Cup Goal of the Century in 2002.
Argentina won the match 2-1 and went on to win the World Cup, and the tournament launched Maradona as one of the best players of the game. Maradona died in 2020 at the age of 60.
“This ball is part of international football history,” Nasser said in a statement from Graham Budd Auctions. “It feels like the right time to share it with the world.”
The shirt worn by Maradona in that game against England was sold for $9.3 million at an auction in May, at the time the highest price ever paid at an auction for a sports memorabilia. The record was broken by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card, which sold for $12.6 million in August.
Nasser will also auction the referee shirt he wore for the quarterfinals, Graham Budd Auctions said, and another shirt Maradona signed for his “eternal friend” at a reunion years after the game.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup
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