The ball that Argentina icon Diego Maradona slammed in for his “Hand of God” goal during the 1986 World Cup has sold at auction for over $2.4 million.
Ali Bin Nasser, a Tunisian former match official who officiated the quarter-final match between Argentina and England in Mexico, owned the Adidas ball that was auctioned off at Graham Budd Auctions in London on Wednesday for £2m ($2.37m).
Bin Nasser said before the auction he felt it was the right time to share the item with the world and expressed hope the buyer would put it on public display.
Maradona jumped as if to head the ball but instead punched it past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
Maradona quipped afterward that it was scored a “little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” leading to its iconic name.
Speaking ahead of the auction, Bin Nasser said: “I couldn’t see the incident clearly. The two players, Shilton and Maradona, were facing me from behind.
“As per FIFA’s instructions issued before the tournament, I looked to my linesman for confirmation of the validity of the goal — he made his way back to the halfway line indicating he was satisfied that the goal should stand.
“At the end of the match, the England head coach Bobby Robson said to me, ‘You did a good job, but the linesman was irresponsible.”’
Maradona scored a brilliant second goal against England only four minutes later with the same ball — the only one used in the quarterfinal.
He ran nearly 70 meters from his own half and weaved his way past half the England team before slipping the ball past Shilton to make it 2-0.
That goal was voted the World Cup Goal of the Century in 2002.
Argentina won the game 2-1 and went on to lift the World Cup.
Maradona died in 2020 at the age of 60. The upcoming World Cup in Qatar, which starts on Sunday, will be the first since Maradona’s death.
The jersey worn by Maradona against England was sold in May for $9.3m, at the time the highest price paid at auction for a piece of sports memorabilia.
That was beaten by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card, which went for $12.6m in New York in August.