The ball that was in play when Diego Maradona scored Argentina’s famed ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup was auctioned off on Wednesday and brought in £2 million ($2.4 million).
When the white Adidas “Azteca” ball from Tunisian match referee Ali Bin Nasser went up for auction at UK-based Graham Budd Auctions, it was expected to sell for up to £3 million ($3.6 million). Before the sale, Bin Nasser stated he believed the timing was appropriate to share the item with the entire world and expressed hope that the buyer, who has not been revealed, will display it in a public setting.
It occurs six months after the jersey Maradona wore in the famous quarterfinal in Mexico City sold at an auction for about $9.3 million, more than twice the estimate made by Sotheby’s. The shirt auctioned in May might be on display in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup, which begins on Sunday.
The 1986 match between Argentina and England was played with the auctioned ball for the entire 90 minutes because it took place before the multi-ball system in football was implemented. The ball was inspired by the architecture and art of the Aztec civilisation.
Political tensions resulting from the Falklands War in 1982 caused a tense build-up to the match, which was ultimately marked by two striking goals by the late Maradona who entered the box for the opening goal, rose with England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, and smashed the ball into the post.
He later said the goal had been scored “a little with the head of Maradona, a little with the hand of God”. A 2002 FIFA survey deemed Maradona’s second goal the “Goal of the Century” when he outran five English players and Shilton just four minutes after the first.
One of the greatest football players in history, Diego Maradona, died in November 2020 at the age of 60.