35 years later, the man who kept one of the biggest treasures in sports history has decided to put the object up for sale. We're talking about Steve Hodge, who will auction the jersey worn by Diego Armando Maradona the day he scored the historic 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 Mexico World Cup.
The former England international swapped jerseys with Diego at the Azteca Stadium despite his team's 2-1 defeat to eventual champions Argentina. “I thought, I won’t be here again. I’ll try and get a shirt," Hodge told FIFA in an interview, per Sport Bible. "After the interview, I went down, behind the goal, to the changing rooms. And as I went down, Maradona was walking with two of his team-mates. I looked him in the eye, tugged on my shirt as if to say ’any chance of swapping?’, and he came straight across, motioned a prayer, and we exchanged shirts.”
While it was an epic game for Diego, who besides his 'Hand of God' goal scored a memorable solo effort dubbed 'the goal of the century' as he left many England players on the way - including goalkeeper Peter Shilton - it was quite a painful loss for England, therefore Hodge faced critics for keeping his jersey. Many years later, however, he will finally auction what could become the most expensive piece in sports memorabilia.
Diego Maradona 'Hand of God' shirt could break record set by Babe Ruth's Yankees jersey in auction
Even though Hodge kept the jersey for himself and never intended to sell it, he has finally changed his mind and the iconic Diego Maradona 1986 World Cup jersey will be up for auction at Sotheby's until Wednesday, May 4. “The ‘hand of God’ is truly a singular moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century," Brahm Wachter of Sotheby's said, as quoted by The Guardian.
"The moment resonated far beyond the world of football, coming soon after the Falklands conflict, and has in turn inspired books, films, and documentaries. Maradona is now remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game of football – and this particular game is an instrumental part of his legacy.”
Sotheby's estimates the jersey could fetch between $5,231,256 - $7,846,884 (£4,000,000-£6,000,000), which would break the record set by Babe Ruth's New York Yankees game-worn shirt, sold for $5.64 million (£4.4m) at auction in 2019.