The Man Who Owns Diego Maradona's Famous 1986 'Hand Of God' Shirt Says It's Not For Sale
Former England international Steve Hodge, the man who swapped shirts with Diego Maradona after the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, has insisted the shirt is not for sale.
That's despite a sports memorabilia expert in the US placing its value at around $2 million. Hodge told the BBC that he's spent an "uncomfortable" week fending off unwanted enquiries ever since the death of the Argentine football legend at age 60.
The 58-year-old exchanged shirts with Maradona in the Azteca Stadium in Mexico after his two famous goal - one a handball, the other a run of dazzling genius - had knocked England out. The Argentina No 10 shirt is now on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester.
Best shirt swap of all time?- Chris Hull (@mrchrishull) November 28, 2020
Steve Hodge collecting Diego #Maradona's shirt in the Azteca Stadium on 22nd June 1986.
At auction it might go for more than most players earned in their careers in that era.
Football's equivalent to the Shroud of Turin.
Just how much is it worth? pic.twitter.com/DBxfjHt9dZ
"I have had it for 34 years and have never once tried to sell it," Hodge told BBC Radio Nottingham. "I like having it. It has incredible sentimental value.
"I've had people knocking on my door non-stop and the phone's constantly ringing from every TV and radio station, and even foreign stations.
"It has been uncomfortable and it hasn't been nice. I have seen articles on the internet and there has been a bit of flak flying around saying I wanted a million or two million and am hawking it around for money.
"I find it disrespectful and totally wrong. It's not for sale. I am not trying to sell it."
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Fair play, Steve. Hodge - who called his autobiography 'The Man With Maradona's Shirt' - had the best view in the house for Maradona's stunning second goal.
He was desperately tracking Maradona as he slalomed through the England midfielder's teammates on his way to scoring the goal of the century.
"People say to me, 'Why didn't you sprint back?'" Hodge said. "Well, it was an hour gone and if you are several thousand feet above sea level and you have made a run forward, trust me, you cannot get back. There was no air in my lungs."
Hodge also played the looping back pass to Peter Shilton which Maradona leapt and punched into the back of the net, giving Argentina a 1-0 lead. However Hodge insists that he "never once blamed" El Diego for doing what he did.
"It was out of order but people who play football know that you try things now and again," he explained.
Overall, Hodge was just amazed to share a pitch with Maradona and to depart with an incredible memento. "What a player," he adds. "He was just a genius."
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