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The jersey worn by Argentine legend Diego Maradona during his infamous "Hand of God" goal at the 1986 World Cup has set a new world record price for both game-worn jerseys and sports memorabilia as a whole.
The jersey, which was purchased by an anonymous buyer, sold for $9.28 million at an auction held by Sotheby's.
#AuctionUpdate The football shirt worn by Diego Maradona for “The Hand of God” & the “Goal of the Century” at the 1986 World Cup just sold online for £7,142,500 / $9,284,536 – marking a new auction record for any item of sports memorabilia. pic.twitter.com/9OBNG4OjYx
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 4, 2022
According to ESPN, the previous record for a game-worn jersey was $5.64 million for the jersey Babe Ruth wore during his 1928-1930 seasons with the New York Yankees, set in 2019. The record for a piece of sports memorabilia was also set in 2019, when an original hand-drawn Olympic manifesto sold for $8.8 million.
The story of the shirt
Maradona's "Hand of God" goal is legendary, but also infamous. In the second half of Argentina's 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, Maradona scored Argentina's first goal, though he'd actually flicked the ball with his hand over England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and into the net. There was obviously no VAR at the time, and since the referee didn't see it, the goal stood.
After the game, Maradona said the goal was scored "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God," and thus the "Hand of God" goal was born.
Maradona also scored the winning goal against England just four minutes later, which showed off his incredible speed. He picked up the ball in his own half, then winded his way through four England defenders over 60 yards before tucking his finish into the net.
That goal has a nickname as well. It was voted the "Goal of the Century" by fans in 2002.
Argentina beat England that quarterfinal match 2-1, and would go on to win the 1986 World Cup, defeating West Germany in the final. Maradona scored five total goals during the tournament and was given the Golden Ball, the award for the best player of the World Cup.
The family of Maradona, who died in 2020, didn't actually have the jersey, as he swapped it with England player Steve Hodge after the game. Hodge had previously declined to sell the jersey, which he'd kept for 36 years, before putting it up for auction at Sotheby's.