Sports | Legendary Maradona jersey sold at auction for over $9 million, record smashed (Sotheby’s)

New York – Unheard of for a sports collector’s item. The shirt Argentine football genius Diego Maradona wore when he crucified England in a legendary 1986 World Cup match has sold for nearly $9.3 million at Sotheby’s, breaking all records .

The hand of God, the goal of the century and a very expensive shirt: shortly after the announcement of the end of the sale on the internet, which lasted two weeks and ignited in the last minutes, we did not yet know the identity of the buyer (s) who put such a sum on the table to afford this relic of the « Pibe de Oro », who died on November 25, 2020.

An Argentinian collector, Marcelo Ordas, told his country’s La Nacion+ TV channel that he « unfortunately » failed with a $6.8 million bid, facing « an offer from the Middle East arrived at the last moment ».

And this despite « a very big effort » and the help of « many business leaders », such as the Spanish defender of FC Barcelona Gerard Piqué and the president of the Argentine football federation, Claudio Tapia, who wanted to help him « repatriate this relic to share it with all Argentines ».

– Absolute record –

At this price, the blue flocked number 10 jersey breaks the historic record for any sports-related collector’s item, held until now by the original manuscript of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s Olympic Games manifesto ($8.8 million in 2019).

It also for the first time put football at the highest level in this area, while the collector’s jersey market is often driven by American baseball and basketball.

The previous record for sportswear was held by American baseball legend Babe Ruth ($5.6 million in 2019). Several basketball tunics have already exceeded one million dollars, which has never happened for football at auction.

For more than 35 years, the Maradona shirt had been the sole owner of former English midfielder Steve Hodge, who lent it to the National Football Museum in Manchester (United Kingdom), before deciding to sell it. Well inspired, the player had exchanged his with the « Pibe de Oro » at the end of the quarter-final of June 22, 1986 at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City, won by the Argentinians (2-1), future winners of the tournament, and remained one of the most controversial in football history.

– Falklands –

This match, heavy with symbols four years after the Falklands war between England and Argentina, greatly contributed to writing the contrasting legend of Maradona.

In the 51st minute, just after a ball diverted in its surface by Steve Hodge, the Argentine captain had risen in the air and had scored with the help of the hand in an obvious way. Maradona had joked after the match, speaking of « the hand of God ».

Only four minutes later, « El Pibe de Oro » had scored an anthology goal, starting from his camp and eliminating four English players then goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score.


The sale tasted controversial, with part of Diego Maradona’s family claiming, despite repeated assurances from Sotheby’s, that the shirt was not the one worn by the Argentina captain when he scored the two goals. Maradona and Hodge recounted the episode of their exchange in books.

Such controversy is not new however is not new. In 2018, a Parisian company had to withdraw in extremis a jersey presented like the one worn by Zinédine Zidane during the final of the 1998 World Cup won by France against Brazil, due to doubts about its authenticity.

Last summer, an American house, Julien’s Auctions, announced in turn the sale, for more than 100,000 dollars, of a jersey prepared for Zizou for this match, without affirming that it had been worn. A sale finally also canceled.

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