Maradona donned the bright blue strip as he scored the notorious ‘Hand of God’ goal early in the second half of the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against the Three Lions.
The playmaker rose and prodded the ball beyond Peter Shilton with his fist – unbeknown to the referee – to put his country ahead, later saying the goal was made “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.
Minutes later, a 25-year-old Maradona scored what many believe to be the greatest goal of all time, starting his run from in his own half and weaving between helpless England players before slotting home. The breathtaking effort was subsequently dubbed the ‘Goal of the Century’.
After the match, Maradona swapped shirts with Three Lions midfielder Steve Hodge, who continued to own it while loaning it to Manchester’s National Football Museum for two decades. The 59-year-old decided to sell up earlier this year and Sotheby’s arranged the auction with bidding open from 20 April until 4 May. The winning offer was worth an eye-watering £7,142,500, making the shirt the most expensive match-worn sports jersey in history.
“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 upon putting the strip up for sale. “It was an absolute privilege to have played against one of the greatest and most magnificent football players of all time. It has also been a pleasure to share it with the public over the last 20 years at the National Football Museum, where it has been on display.
“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.”
There was some confusion about whether the shirt on the market was the one Maradona scored his famous goals against England in, as he wore separate shirts in each half at the Estadio Azteca. However, Sotheby’s worked with Resolution Photomatching to prove the shirt Hodge sold was indeed the item the former Barcelona and Napoli star donned in the second half.
After defeating England in the quarter-finals, Maradona spearheaded Argentina’s charge to World Cup glory in 1986 and many fans continue to regard him as the best player ever to grace the pitch. The global icon died aged 60 in November 2020 following a cardiac arrest.