Maradona 'Hand of God' World Cup ball fails to sell despite €2.3M bid

Maradona 'Hand of God' World Cup ball fails to sell despite €2.3M bid

The ball punched in by Diego Maradona for his highly contentious “Hand of God” goal at the 1986 World Cup failed to sell at auction despite a highest bid of nearly $2.4 million (approx. €2.3 million).

Ali Bin Nasser, the Tunisian former match official who refereed the quarterfinal game between Argentina and England in Mexico, owned the 36-year-old Adidas ball that was put on auction at Graham Budd Auctions in London.

Bin Nasser said before the auction he felt it was the right time to share the item with the world and expressed hope the buyer would put it on public display.

Speaking ahead of the auction, Bin Nasser said: “I couldn’t see the incident clearly. The two players, Shilton and Maradona, were facing me from behind.”

“As per FIFA’s instructions issued before the tournament, I looked to my linesman for confirmation of the validity of the goal — he made his way back to the halfway line indicating he was satisfied that the goal should stand. At the end of the match, the England head coach Bobby Robson said to me, ‘You did a good job, but the linesman was irresponsible.’”

Carlo Fumagalli/Copyright 2018 The AP.
Argentina won the game 2-1 and went on to lift the World Cup - Carlo Fumagalli/Copyright 2018 The AP.

The Maradona goal that gave Argentina a 1-0 lead in that match against England has become part of football legend.

Maradona jumped as if to head the ball but instead punched it past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Maradona quipped afterward that it was scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” leading to its iconic name.

Maradona scored a second goal against England only four minutes later with the same ball - the only one used in the quarterfinal. Argentina won the game 2-1 and went on to lift the World Cup. The second goal was voted the World Cup Goal of the Century in 2002.

Maradona died in 2020 at the age of 60. The upcoming World Cup in Qatar, which starts Sunday, will be the first since Maradona's death.