London: The shirt worn by Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona for the infamous Hand of God sold at auction in London on Wednesday for 7.1 million pounds (USD 9.3 million), setting a new record for any items of sports memorabilia going under the hammer.

On June 22, 1986, a 25-year-old Maradona had made history in what is now one of the world’s most famous football matches – the Argentina vs England quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup.

Maradona scored two of the most extraordinary, and notorious, goals in the sport. Argentina would go on to win the cup, and that day cemented Maradona’s name permanently in the chronicle of the sport. Now, that shirt has gone under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London.

This historic shirt is a tangible reminder of an important moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century, said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables.

“In the weeks since we announced the auction, we have been inundated by sports fans and collectors alike, with a palpable excitement in the air for the duration of the public exhibition and this unfiltered enthusiasm was echoed in the bidding. This is arguably the most coveted football shirt to ever come to auction, and so it is fitting that it now holds the auction record for any object of its kind,” he said.

The shirt came from the collection of English midfielder Steve Hodge, who had unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona during the play, with whom Maradona had swapped shirts after the match as Maradona himself recalled in his autobiography ‘Touched by God’.

Before Wednesday’s sale, the auction record for any sports memorabilia was the original autograph manuscript of the Olympic Manifesto from 1892, which sold at Sotheby’s for USD 8.8 million in December 2019. The previous record for a game worn shirt was held by Babe Ruth’s Yankees road Jersey, which sold for USD 5.64 million in 2019.

The auction house said individualisation of the Sotheby’s shirt to the shirt worn at the time Maradona scored the infamous goal was undertaken by the sports memorabilia photo-matching firm, Resolution Photomatching, and was subsequently reviewed by Sotheby’s Chief Science Officer, who physically examined the shirt to confirm the matched features.

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