Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” ball, from the goal that helped seal England’s World Cup fate in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, has sold at auction for £2 million.
Maradona controversially struck the opener past English keeper Peter Shilton, who was allowed to his feet by the referee, before scoring an excellent individual effort at Azteca in Mexico City. The second goal was later voted goal of the century.
The great Argentine, who died at the age of 60 in November 2020, stated that his controversial first goal was scored “a bit with Maradona’s head and a bit with the hand of God.”
Gary Lineker, the 1986 Golden Boot winner, halved the deficit with his sixth goal of the tournament. England, however, were knocked out of the tournament after losing 2-1, and Argentina became world champions after defeating West Germany in the final.
Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser owned the ball, which was sold by Graham Budd Auctions on Wednesday, with an initial estimate of between £2.5m and £3m.
Maradona’s shirt from the match, which belonged to England midfielder Steve Hodge, fetched a record £7.1m at auction in May, and was expected to fetch around £4m.
Before the auction, Bin Nasser said he felt the time was right to share the item with the world and expressed his hope that the buyer would put it on public display. Speaking of the handball goal, he said, “I couldn’t see the incident clearly. The two players, Shilton and Maradona, were looking at me from behind.
“Per FIFA instructions issued before the tournament, I looked at my linesman to confirm the validity of the goal: he returned to the halfway line indicating that he was satisfied the goal stood. At the end of the game, England head coach Bobby Robson told me: ‘You did a good job, but the linesman was irresponsible.’