Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' ball is poised to go to auction for a massive £3 million.
36 years ago, Maradona produced one of the most iconic moments in football history for Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final vs England at the Azteca Stadium.
Maradona scored twice in the 2-1 win, with his first strike in the 51st minute tinged with controversy after the Napoli legend beat Peter Shelton to the ball and punched it into the goal.
The late Argentine maestro, who also scored an outrageous "goal of the century" when he dribbled past five players to double his team's lead, uttered the phrase, “a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God" afterwards.
Argentina went all the way in Mexico to win the World Cup for a second time.
Nearly four decades on, Ali Bin Nasser, the referee who allowed the goal to stand, is selling the very same ball that Maradona punched.
It's estimated the ball, which has been in Bin Nasser's cupboard, is worth between £2.5 million and £3 million and Bin Nasser is also selling his shirt from the game and a Maradona jersey.
On going to auction, the Tunisian said: "This ball is part of football history - it feels like the right time to be sharing it with the world."
Bids can be placed starting from October 28, with an auction on 16 November being streamed live online.
The event takes place days before the World Cup in Qatar and auctioneer Graham Budd is anticipating plenty of substantial offers.
"The timing of the match, the history between the two teams and the handball have all led to this match going down as one of the most famous and emotive matches in football history," Budd, chairman of Graham Budd Auctions, commented, as per the BBC.
"With the history surrounding the ball, we are expecting this lot to be hugely popular when it comes up for auction."
However, not everyone is in favour of the ball being sold for millions. England legend Gary Lineker, who played in the game, isn't best pleased Bin Nasser's decision to profit from a high-profile mistake.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Lineker said: “How the hell did the referee end up with the ball!?
“The gall of the referee to keep the ball all this time and will now cash in on the biggest mistake in refereeing history. Really?”
Earlier this year, Steve Hodge, who had inadvertently flicked the ball to 'El Diego' for the goal, sold Maradona's shirt at auction for around £7 million.
Hodge, who played 24 times for England, swapped shirts with Maradona and held onto the jersey.
In June 1986, a 25-year-old Diego Maradona made history in what is now one of the world’s most famous football matches. Now, the shirt he wore as he scored 'The Hand of God' is set to break a record as it heads to auction for the first time.https://t.co/9gIsVAtaK1— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) April 6, 2022
He eventually decided to sell the classic souvenir at auction through Sotheby's and it became the most expensive piece of sporting memorabilia at the time.
That figure has seen been eclipsed twice, with the current record belonging to Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA finals jersey, which went for £8.7 million.
Featured Image Credit: Image: Alamy & Graham Budd Auctions
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