The football with which Argentina’s idol Diego Maradona scored his legendary “Hand of God” goal has been auctioned off for millions. The referee at the time, Tunisian Ali Bin Nasser, had offered the ball for sale.
Bin Nasser hadn’t seen the handball in the 2-1 win over England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. The ball scored at the London auction house Graham Budd Auctions a price of two million pounds (equivalent to around 2.3 million euros).
“A Little With the Hand of God”
Maradona, who died in 2020 at the age of 60, later stated that the ball went past goalkeeper Peter Shilton “a little bit with Maradona’s head and a little bit with the hand of God”. That goal and another by Maradona, later voted the best goal in World Cup history, secured Argentina’s progress. Maradona, who is only 1.65 meters tall, dribbled the ball from his own half in front of the opponent’s goal, had outplayed several Englishmen and then completed the 2-0.
The referee from Tunisia justified his mistake by saying that the players blocked his view of the first goal. “I looked to the linesman for confirmation that the goal was valid – he ran back to the halfway line indicating he was confident the goal was valid,” said Nasser before the auction. He hopes the buyer will make the ball available to the public in an exhibition, the referee added.
The shirt Maradona wore in the game had already fetched £7.1m (about €8.4m) at auction earlier this year.