A Sotheby's technician adjusts shirt worn by Diego Maradona during the 1986 World Cup quarter-final match against England at Sotheby's auction house in London ahead of its sale. AFP
The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored the controversial "Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup has sold for £7.1 million ($9.3 million), the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece of sports memorabilia.
Auctioneer Sotheby’s sold the shirt in an online auction that closed on Wednesday. It did not identify the buyer.
Maradona scored two goals during the quarter-final game in Mexico City on June 22, 1986, just four years after Britain and Argentina had fought a war over the Falkland Islands.
The Argentine great’s first goal was ruled a header, but the ball had bounced off Maradona’s fist, out of sight of the referee.
Maradona said afterward that it had been scored "a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God.”
Maradona’s second goal saw him dribble the ball past almost the entire English team before beating goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
In 2002, it was voted "goal of the century” in a FIFA poll.
After the game Maradona swapped shirts with England midfielder Steve Hodge, who loaned it long-term to England’s National Football Museum in Manchester before putting it up for sale.
Maradona, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, struggled with cocaine abuse and other excesses and died in November 2020 at age 60.
The previous record for sports memorabilia was $8.8 million paid at a December 2019 auction for the manifesto that launched the modern Olympic movement.
The previous record for a piece of sportswear was $5.64 million for a Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey in 2019.
The sale prices include an auction house charge known as the buyer’s premium.