Bidding for Maradona “Hand of God” ball approaches $1.5 million with one day to go


Bidding for the ball involved in Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal at the 1986 FIFA World Cup has reached nearly $1.5 million (£1.25 million/€1.4 million) with a day left before the auction is due to end.

In one of the most iconic moments in FIFA World Cup history, Maradona flicked the ball with his hand past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton in the World Cup quarter-finals in Mexico City.

The iconic Adidas ball was previously owned by the match referee, Tunisia’s Ali Bin Nasser, who has had it since the game was played on June 22 1986, before he put it up for auction with Goldin.

So far, there has been 18 bids since the auction opened on January 20, when the opening offer was $500,000 (£415,000/€466,000).

The latest bid of $1,450,000 (£1,200,000/€1,350,000) was placed yesterday.

The auction is due to close at 9pm Eastern time today.”This ball is central to arguably the most iconic moment in sports history,” said Goldin Co. founder Ken Goldin.

“The legacies of Maradona and the ‘Hand of God’ are forever intertwined and generations from now their story will still be told by fans around the world.”

The shirt that Maradona wore in that same “Hand of God” game fetched a staggering $9.3million (£7.7 million/€8.7 million) in May 2022.

At the time that sale was made it was the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece of sports memorabilia.

The iconic ball has “Official World Cup Ball 1986 Ballon Officiel Coupe du Monde 1986” stamped in black on one of the pentagonal panels and “azteca Mexico” – the stadium where the game took place – stamped on another panel.

The ball also comes with a letter from Bin Nasser, plus a Letter of Authenticity from Resolution Photomatching, which provided a ResMatch for the ball.

But Bin Nasser could be facing a big loss unless there is a late bidding frenzy in the last 24 hours.

The ball failed to sell with London-based auctioneers Graham Budd Auctions last November, despite a £2 million ($2.4 million/€2.2 million) bid.

That figure was £500,000 ($602,000/€562,000) below the reserve that Bin Nasser was asking.

On the handball goal, 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.'”

The Argentina captain, who died in November 2020, claimed the goal was scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.

He followed that up by claiming a superb solo second goal as Argentina won 2-1.

They followed it by beating Belgium 2-0 in the semi-finals, with Maradona scoring both goals, before lifting the trophy with a 3-2 victory over West Germany in the final.

It was the last time that Argentina won the FIFA World Cup until the side inspired by Lionel Messi triumphed again by beating France on penalties in last year’s tournament in Qatar.