A Diego Maradona jersey sold for a record sum at Sotheby’s

The hand of God, the goal of the century and the most expensive jersey in the world. The shirt Argentine football genius Diego Maradona wore when he crucified England in a legendary 1986 World Cup game has gone for nearly $9.3 million at Sotheby’s. Unheard of for a sports collector’s item.

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 or buyers who put such a sum on the table. to afford this relic of “Pibe de Oro”died on November 25, 2020.

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An Argentinian collector, Marcelo Ordas, told his country’s TV channel, La Nacion, that he had ” unfortunately “ failed with a $6.8 million bid, facing “a last-minute offer from the Middle East”.

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

Maradona stronger than Babe Ruth

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.

A shirt owned by English player Steve Hodge

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 June 22, 1986 quarter-final at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City, won by the Argentinians (2-1), eventual winners of the tournament, and remained one of the most controversial in the history of football.

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

At the 51and 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 quipped after the match, talking about ” God’s hand “.

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.

Doubts about the authenticity of the jersey

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.

This kind of controversy is not a first. 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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The World with AFP

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