Daily Mail

Maradona’s Hand of God ball falls short of £3m asking price


HE WAS quick enough to bag the ball used to score one of the most infamous goals in history. But the man in the middle when Argentine wizard Diego Maradona scored his Hand of God goal at Mexico 86 had a little more difficulty in disposing of it yesterday.

The scuffed ball, picked up by Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser when he blew for full time in the World Cup quarter-final at the Azteca Stadium, was the star attraction of a sports memorabili­a auction. The adidas Azteca had been expected to fetch £3million but failed to reach its reserve when bidding peaked at £2m. A spokesman for the auction house said that it was hopeful that talks between the unidentifi­ed bidder and Bin Nasser, which were ongoing last night, may result in a private agreement to sell. The ball was punched beyond a helpless England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to open the scoring in Mexico City in the 51st minute. Despite fierce England protests, unsighted Bin Nasser allowed it, believing Maradona headed past Shilton after his linesman — who had a better view — failed to raise his flag.

Five minutes later, Maradona scored a majestic second with the same ball. That effort was voted goal of the century by FIFA in 2002. England’s Golden Boot winner Gary Lineker hit back, but Maradona’s sleight of hand helped send Bobby Robson’s team home. Maradona led Argentina to their second World Cup after beating Belgium in the semis and West Germany in the final.

Mr Bin Nasser, 78, said he had decided to auction the ball in order to raise money for family to improve their quality of life. As he blew for full time, England

full back Gary Stevens received the ball yards from the official, only for the Everton player to boot it away in despair.

The referee turns to follow the ball and apparently gestures for it to be kicked to him before the camera cuts away to scenes of celebratin­g Argentines. The official was later seen walking off the pitch with the ball. Reflecting on the £2.5m-£3m estimate before the auction at Graham Budd Auctions in Wellingbor­ough, Bin Nasser called it ‘a gift to me from God after many, many years as a referee. This ball is part of internatio­nal football history — it feels like the right time to be sharing it with the world’.

When asked about the goal, , Bin Nasser said FIFA’s instructio­ns for the tournament were that referees should rely on other officials if they had a better view of an incident. But when he turned to linesman Bogdan Dochev he saw the Bulgarian running back towards the halfway line ready for the restart. Dochev, who passed away five years ago, said he thought there was ‘something irregular’. However, he added, FIFA protocols didn’t allow assistants to discuss their thoughts with the referee. The shirt worn by Maradona was sold by England midfielder Steve Hodge for £7m at auction in May after the pair swapped shirts at full time.

 ?? ?? A bit handy: Maradona leaps to punch past Shilton
A bit handy: Maradona leaps to punch past Shilton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom