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The Man Who Owns Diego Maradona's Famous 'Hand Of God' Shirt To Finally Auction It After 35 Years

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The Man Who Owns Diego Maradona's Famous 'Hand Of God' Shirt To Finally Auction It After 35 Years

A former England international who swapped shirts with Diego Maradona after the 1986 World Cup quarter-final has decided to sell the jersey – and it is expected to fetch around £4 million at auction.

Steve Hodge exchanged shirts with the Argentine legend in the Azteca Stadium, Mexico after he knocked Sir Bobby Robson's side out by scoring twice [and yes, one of those was the famous 'hand of god' goal].

In the build-up to that infamous 'hand of god' goal, Hodge had flicked the ball unintentionally to Maradona. But after the full-time whistle, he decided to ask Argentina's number 10 to swap shirts – despite the controversy surrounding England's exit.

England footballer Steve Hodge holding the famous Number 10 shirt of Argentina. Image credit: Alamy
England footballer Steve Hodge holding the famous Number 10 shirt of Argentina. Image credit: Alamy
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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.’”

After speaking to the media, Hodge then had a second chance encounter with Maradona. “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. And that was it. It was just as simple as that.”

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Back in December 2020, Hodge told the BBC that he had spent an "uncomfortable" week fending off unwanted enquiries ever since the death of the legendary footballer at age 60.

A sports memorabilia expert in the US placed its value at around $2 million but the former Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Leeds midfielder insisted the shirt was not for sale.

"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.

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"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."

England's Steve Hodge moves in to tackle Argentina's Diego Maradona. Image credit: Alamy
England's Steve Hodge moves in to tackle Argentina's Diego Maradona. Image credit: Alamy
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But 16 months later, Hodge has changed his mind. He will soon part company with the famous jersey, with the auction set to end on Wednesday May 4 at 06:01 PM (BST).

“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.”

Sotheby’s, who will auction the shirt, have said the following: “The ‘hand of God’ is truly a singular moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century.

“The moment resonated far beyond the world of football, coming soon after the Falklands conflict, and has in turn inspired books, films, and documentaries.

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“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.”

Sotherby's have estimated the shirt will bring between £4,000,000-£6,000,000, a sum that could break the current record for a game-worn shirt [£4.2 million for a Yankee's shirt belonging to baseball player Babe Ruth.]

The greatest shirt swap of all time? For sure.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter

Topics: Football World Cup, Diego Maradona, England, Argentina

Jack Kenmare
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