Diego Maradona shirt auction: how much did ‘Hand of God’ kit sell for? Story behind World Cup 1986 kit

The 1986 World Cup shirt set a new record for an item of sports memorabilia

Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ shirt has sold at auction for over £7 million, making it the most expensive football shirt sale of all time.

Bidding on the historic piece, worn during Argentina’s 1986 World Cup quarter-final victory over England, closed at 4pm on May 4th, and the winning offer was £7,142,500.

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The jersey was owned by ex-England midfielder Steve Hodges, who swapped his shirt with the legendary South American at the end of his side’s 2-1 defeat.

As well as the notorious ‘Hand of God’, in which Maradona punched a looping ball into the back of the net ahead of Three Lions stopper Peter Shilton, the Argentine icon also scored his ‘Goal of the Century’ in the same match.

Maradona gave his side an unassailable lead shortly after his controversial opener by dribbling more than half the length of the pitch before slotting an effort cooly past a helpless Shilton.

Argentina would go on to win the World Cup in 1986, with Maradona captaining his country to victory.

Here’s everything you need to know about today’s auction and the shirt itself...

How much did the ‘Hand of God’ shirt be sold for?

The bidding was competitive at Sotheby’s, and eventually the shirt sold for a whopping £7,142,500.

The previous record sale for a match-worn football shirt was set in 2002, when Pele’s 1970 World Cup final shirt was sold for £157,750 at an auction in London.

What has been said about the sale of the ‘Hand of God’ shirt?

According to a report from The Sun, a group comprised of the Argentinian FA, Maradona’s family, and a private memorabilia firm have asked Hodges to pull out of the auction so that they can instead buy the shirt from him.

It is claimed that an Argentine delegation arrived in London in a last-ditch bid to secure the piece for a Maradona museum in Buenos Aires.

One member reportedly told The Sun: “He [Hodges] is selling something that belongs to Maradona and the AFA without authorisation.

“It should be in Argentina in order all Argentines can enjoy it — and not for a millionaire to display it in his closet.”

RECORD BREAKER - Steve Hodge sold Maradona's 'Hand of God' Argentina shirt at auction, earning the ex-Leeds United midfielder a sum of just over £7m. Pic: Getty

What is the story behind the ‘Hand of God’ shirt?

Despite the legendary status that the shirt now has, Maradona and his teammates very nearly wore a different kit entirely against England for their quarter-final clash.

Argentina beat Uruguay 1–0 in the round of 16 wearing blue cotton shirts that coach Carlos Bilardo believed would prove too uncomfortable in the excessive heat of Mexico City, where his side’s last eight match was due to take place.

According to FIFA themselves, Bilardo asked Argentina’s kit manufacturer to come up with lighter blue shirts for the game against England, but the request proved impossible at such short notice.

Instead, Bilardo sent out Ruben Moschella, a member of his coaching staff, to scour the shops of Mexico City for a suitable alternative. He returned with two different blue shirts, which bosses were subsequently unable to choose between.

As the legend goes, it was then that Maradona himself appeared and said: “That’s a nice jersey. We’ll beat England in that.”

Moschella returned to the shop and bought 38 of the shirts for his side to wear against England, before a designer was employed to fashion some makeshift Argentine Football Association badges. These crests were then sewn on to each jersey opposite the logo of Le Coq Sportif - who provided Argentina’s actual kits at the time - with silver American football numbers hurriedly ironed on to the backs to complete the shirts.