The shirt the Argentina star was wearing when he scored against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final was auctioned for $9.3 million, a record for any item of sports memorabilia.

Seven bidders vied for the garment in an online auction, but auctioneer Sotheby's did not identify the buyer.
Seven bidders vied for the garment in an online auction, but auctioneer Sotheby's did not identify the buyer. (AFP)

The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored the controversial "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup has sold for 7.1 million pounds ($9.3 million).

It is the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece of sports memorabilia.

Auctioneer Sotheby’s sold the shirt in an online auction that began on April 20 and ended on Wednesday morning. Seven bidders vied for the garment, but Sotheby's did not identify the buyer.

"This historic shirt is a tangible reminder of an important moment not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century," Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectables, Brahm Wachter, said in a statement.

Maradona scored two goals during the quarter-final in Mexico City on June 22, 1986, just four years after Britain and Argentina had fought a war over the Falkland Islands.

Argentina won the game 2-1 and went on to win the World Cup.

READ MORE: Maradona carried the spirit of the Global South

Iconic match 

The Argentine great’s first goal was ruled a header, but the ball had bounced off Maradona’s fist, out of sight of the referee.

Maradona said afterward that it had been scored “a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God."

Maradona’s second goal saw him dribble the ball past almost the entire English team before beating goalkeeper Peter Shilton. In 2002, it was voted “goal of the century” in a FIFA poll.

After the game, Maradona swapped shirts with England midfielder Steve Hodge, who loaned it long-term to England’s National Football Museum in Manchester before putting it up for sale.

Maradona's daughter cast doubt on the sale earlier this month when she claimed that the shirt put up for auction had been the one her father wore in the goalless first half, not the second when he scored his two goals.

Sotheby's insisted they had the right shirt, though.

Maradona, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, struggled with cocaine abuse and other excesses and died in November 2020 at age 60.

The previous record for sports memorabilia was $8.8 million paid at a December 2019 auction for the manifesto that launched the modern Olympic movement. 

The previous record for a piece of sportswear was $5.64 million for a Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey in 2019.

The sale prices include an auction house charge known as the buyer’s premium.

READ MORE: World honours Maradona on first death anniversary of 'Golden Kid'

Source: TRTWorld and agencies