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Maradona 'Hand of God' World Cup ball sold for €2.3m by the referee who allowed infamous goal to stand

11:55 EAT 17/11/2022
Maradona hand of god
The iconic Diego Maradona 'Hand of God' ball has fetched nearly €2.3 million at auction after being sold by former referee Ali Bin Nasser.
  • Bin Nasser owned the ball
  • Auctioned on Nov 16
  • Fetched $2.37 million 

WHAT HAPPENED? The Tunisian referee was in charge of the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal between England and Argentina. In that match, he missed the incident of Maradona using his hand to score the opener and relied on his linesman, who inexplicably flagged it as a legal goal. On Wednesday, the same match ball was sold in London at Graham Budd Auctions and raked in $2.37 million.

WHAT THEY SAID: Before the auction, Bin Nasser explained why he ended up allowing the controversial goal to stand. “I couldn’t see the incident clearly. The two players, Shilton and Maradona, were facing me from behind," said the former referee.

“As per FIFA’s instructions issued before the tournament, I looked to my linesman for confirmation of the validity of the goal — he made his way back to the halfway line indicating he was satisfied that the goal should stand. At the end of the match, the England head coach Bobby Robson said to me, ‘You did a good job, but the linesman was irresponsible.'''

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Maradona gave a tongue-in-cheek reply when quizzed on his goal after the classic World Cup contest, saying it was scored with "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” leading to the iconic moniker. Maradona sealed the 2-1 win for Argentina with a stunning solo goal, which is now known as the “Goal of the Century”.

IN ONE PHOTO:

DID YOU KNOW? Maradona's shirt that he wore in the same match was sold earlier in May for £7.1m, which made it the most expensive football memorabilia ever.

WHAT NEXT? Argentina are one of the favourites for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar and all eyes are on Lionel Messi as the forward gears up to try and bring his country's 36 year-wait for the trophy to an end.