Diego Maradona's Family Says 'Hand of God' Jersey Headed to Auction Isn't Correct One

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

FILE - The soccer shirt, center, worn by Argentina's Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England is displayed at the National Football Museum in Manchester, England Nov. 26, 2020. The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored the controversial “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup is for sale for the first time. Auctioneer Sotheby’s said Wednesday, April 6, 2022 that the jersey could fetch more than 4 million pounds ($5.2 million) in an online auction that opens April 20. (AP Photo/Jon Super, file)
AP Photo/Jon Super, file

Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal was one of the most controversial plays in sports history, so it's only fitting that the jersey he was supposedly wearing when he scored it going to auction has created a controversy of its own.

Pablo Maurer of The Athletic reported the No. 10 jersey the Argentina star was wearing during his side's victory over England in a 1986 World Cup quarterfinal match is valued at approximately $5.2-7.8 million ahead of an upcoming auction.

Maradona scored the controversial goal with the use of his hand, but officials did not clearly see the violation. It put his side up 1-0, and Argentina eventually went on to win 2-1 when he scored another goal by breaking through defenders and finding the back of the net in what is known as the "Goal of the Century."

England midfielder Steve Hodge swapped jerseys with Maradona after the game and had lent it to the National Football Museum in the United Kingdom in the past, but he is ready to part with it via the auction.

"I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years, since Diego and I swapped shirts in the tunnel after the famed match," Hodge said in a press release through Sotheby's auction house. "The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural meaning to the football world, the people of Argentina, and the people of England and I'm certain that the new owner will have immense pride in owning the world’s most iconic football shirt."

However, Maradona's family said the shirt going up for auction is not the correct one since the Argentina star changed at halftime and gave Hodge the one he wore in the first half before the "Hand of God" goal.

His daughter, Dalma Maradona, and his ex-wife, Claudia Villafana, said as much on Argentine radio. His younger brother, Lalo Maradona, supported their claims.

Dalma said her father used to say, "That guy [Hodge] thinks he has the shirt. How am I going to give the shirt from the game of my life to someone?"

Yet Sotheby's hired an outside firm, Photomatch, to analyze the shirt. The company has done such work on game-worn jerseys from Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Babe Ruth in the past.

"There was indeed a different shirt worn by Maradona in the first half, but there are clear differences between that and what was worn during the goals," Sotheby's director of communications Melica Khansari said. "And so, prior to putting this shirt for sale, we did extensive diligence and scientific research on the item to make sure it was the shirt worn by Maradona in the second half for the two goals."

Argentina went on to win that World Cup with a 3-2 victory over West Germany in the final. It also won the 1978 World Cup but has not triumphed in the tournament since.

Maradona died at the age of in 60 in 2020.