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In a potential plot twist to end all plot twists, Diego Maradona's eldest daughter has claimed the Argentina shirt that is expected to sell at auction for around £4 million is not the one her father scored the 'Hand of Goal' goal with.
Former England international Steve Hodge exchanged shirts with Maradona in the Azteca Stadium, Mexico after the forward scored two goals to knock Sir Bobby Robson's side out of the 1986 World Cup.
Hodge, who made 24 appearances for the Three Lions, recalled the meeting with Maradona in an interview with FIFA. “I thought, I won’t be here again. I’ll try and get a shirt," he said.
"I shook Maradona’s hand. He was being mobbed by his team-mates. So I thought, ’There’s no point, just leave it.’”
Hodge then had a second chance encounter with Maradona after speaking to the media.
“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," he added.
"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. And that was it. It was just as simple as that.”
In the past, Hodge has claimed the famous shirt from the World Cup quarter-final game was not for sale. "I have had it for 34 years and have never once tried to sell it," Hodge told BBC Radio Nottingham in 2020. "I like having it. It has incredible sentimental value."
But after 35 years of treasuring the jersey, former Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest midfielder has decided to auction it off, with Sotheby's valuing ‘The Hand of God’ & ‘Goal of the Century’ World Cup match worn shirt at £4,000,000 - £6,000,000.
“I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years," Hodge said. "It has deep cultural meaning to the football world, and I’m certain that the new owner will have immense pride in owning the world’s most iconic football shirt.”
Steve Hodge swapped shirts with Diego Maradona after the infamous World Cup clash between England and Argentina in 1986.— FUN88 (@fun88eng) April 6, 2022
He’s finally selling the shirt and it has an estimate of $5.2m 🤯 pic.twitter.com/wMHg4EuPlk
The unique item has certainly peaked huge interest from around the world, although Maradona's eldest daughter, Dalma, has claimed the purported 'Hand of God' shirt is actually from the first-half of the 1986 World Cup clash.
Maradona, of course, scored both of his famous goals in the second-half against England.
Speaking on Argentine station Radio Metro, Dalma said her father had changed shirts at half-time because of the high temperatures in the Azteca Stadium.
"That ex-England player thinks he’s got my dad’s second-half shirt but there's a confusion," she said. "He has the first-half top. I wanted to explain that to people so that whoever wants to buy it knows the truth."
Dalma was then asked about the whereabouts of the second-half shirt. “My mum hasn’t got it. I know who has but I’m not going to say who’s got it so as not to expose that person," she added.
"All I can say is that the one that’s being auctioned is not the one my dad scored his goals with.”
On their official website, Sotheby’s say part of the challenge in evaluating the shirt was pinpointing the shirt to the two historic goals from the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.
And as part of this endeavor, they worked with Resolution Photomatching in order to match the shirt to both goals examining unique details on various elements of the item, including the patch, stripes and numbering.
Resolution Photomatching was able to make a conclusive photomatch to the celebration following “The Hand of God” goal.
In fact, Resolution Photomatching determined that Maradona switched shirts during the match, but that Maradona did wear this shirt for both historic goals in the second half of the match.
Sotheby have since released the following statement to clarify the situation.
A spokeswoman said: “There was indeed a different shirt worn by Maradona in the first half but there are clear differences between that and what was worn during the goals.
“Prior to putting this shirt for sale, we did extensive diligence and scientific research on the item to make sure it was the shirt worn by Maradona in the second half for the two goals.”
She added: “This object has clear provenance, it is being consigned by the man that kicked Maradona the ball on the Hand of God play.
“Maradona acknowledges the provenance himself, in his book “Touched by God”, and he recalls giving it to Steve Hodge.
“It’s been in the National Football Museum for 20 years, where countless people have seen it. There has never been a claim that it’s not the shirt.”
Maradona's shirt from the World Cup quarter-final in 1986 has been housed inside the National Football Museum in Manchester.
The National Football Museum have also released a statement.
“We feel honoured at the National Football Museum to have had the pleasure for 18 years of housing the shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored his ‘famous goal’ against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
“We would like to thank former England player Steve Hodge for kindly allowing us to loan the shirt. It has been seen and enjoyed by many thousands of people over the years thanks to Steve’s generosity.
"Like everyone else, we will be very interested to see where the shirt goes next following the sale, and would love to have it back on display at the museum if the successful buyer should need a safe keeper.”
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