LONDON – On June 22, 1986, a 25-year-old Diego Maradona made history in what is now one of the world’s most famous football matches – the Argentina v England quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup. Maradona scored two of the most extraordinary, and notorious, goals in history. Argentina would go on to win the cup, and this day cemented Maradona’s name permanently in the chronicle of the sport – with many to this day considering him the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. On May 4, the shirt worn for The Hand of God and the Goal of the Century,* which many consider to be the greatest individual goal of all time, sold at auction for £7,142,500 / $9,284,536 – marking a new auction record for any item of sports memorabilia.**
The shirt came from the collection of English midfielder Steve Hodge – who had unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona on the The Hand of God play – with whom Maradona had swapped shirts after the match, as Maradona himself recalled in his autobiography Touched by God.
“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.” – Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables Brahm Wachter
* Individualization of the Sotheby’s shirt to the shirt worn at the time Maradona scored the infamous goal was undertaken by the preeminent sports memorabilia photo-matching firm, Resolution Photomatching, and was subsequently reviewed by Sotheby’s Chief Science Officer, who physically examined the shirt to confirm the matched features.
**Prior to the May 4 sale, the auction record for any piece of sports memorabilia was the original autograph manuscript of the Olympic Manifesto from 1892, which sold at Sotheby’s for $8.8 million in December 2019. The previous record for a game-worn shirt was held by Babe Ruth’s Yankees road jersey, which sold for $5.64 million in 2019.