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Maradona shirt auction opens with bid of $5 million

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Diego Maradona (center) battles English midfielder Steve Hodge (on the ground) on June 22, 1986 during the World Cup quarterfinal in Mexico City won by Argentina against England./AFP
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Apr 21, 2022 - 07:28 AM

NEW YORK — An auction of the jersey worn by Diego Maradona when he scored twice against England in the 1986 World Cup, including the infamous “hand of God” goal, kicked off Wednesday with a bid of over $5 million.

Sotheby’s is selling the blue number 10 Argentina shirt in an online sale that runs until May 4.

A few hours after bidding opened, the site showed that a first offer of £4 million ($5.2 million) — matching the low end of the auction house’s pre-sale estimate — had been registered.

That would set a new record price for a football jersey at auction.

The record for a game-worn shirt from any sport is $5.6 million, set in 2019 for a jersey Babe Ruth wore while on the New York Yankees.

Maradona’s daughter cast doubt on the sale earlier this month when she claimed that the shirt put up for auction had been the one her father wore in the goalless first half, not the second when he scored his two goals.

Sotheby’s insists they have the right shirt, though.

It had been owned since the end of the controversial encounter by opposing midfielder Steve Hodge, who swapped his jersey with Maradona after England lost 2-1.

Hodge, whose autobiography is titled “The man with Maradona’s shirt,” has for the past 20 years loaned the jersey to be on public display at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

The quarter-final showdown became etched in football folklore for Maradona’s two goals — one notorious and one sublime — in Mexico City’s seething Aztec Stadium.

The first came shortly after half-time when Hodge, on the edge of the England penalty area, intercepted a pass and flicked the ball back towards goal.

Maradona, running into the box, rose with England’s goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net. He later said the goal had been scored “a little with the head of Maradona, a little with the hand of God.”

Soon after, Maradona left five English defenders in his wake before gliding past Shilton and slotting home for a strike that was voted “Goal of the Century” in a 2002 FIFA poll.

Argentina went on to win the final and Maradona, who died from a heart attack in 2020, became worshipped in his home country.

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