How Much Is 'Hand of God' Ball Worth? We'll Soon Know

Maradona used same ball for two of the most famous goals in history
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2022 6:16 PM CST
Ball Used for 'Hand of God' Goal to Be Auctioned
In this June 22, 1986 file photo, Argentina's Diego Maradona, left, beats England's goalkeeper Peter Shilton to a high ball and scores his first of two goals at the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match in Mexico City. The ball used when Maradona scored his “Hand of God” will be auctioned Nov. 16.   (El Grafico via AP, File)

Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona scored two famous goals in the quarterfinal of the 1986 World Cup. Following the game, in which Argentina beat England 2-1, Maradona confessed to reporters that the first goal was accomplished with “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.” Per NPR, the ball from that game is slated for the auction block at Graham Budd Auctions in the UK on Wednesday, four days before the kickoff of this year's World Cup in Qatar. The ball itself belongs to the man who refereed the game, Ali Bin Nasser. FIFA allowed referees to keep game balls, and there was only one used in most games back then.

Nassar took plenty of heat for allowing the "Hand of God" goal to stand, but he always insisted that the linesman had a better view of the action and never signaled a handball. In real time, it may have been difficult to see Maradona’s foul, but slow-motion footage leaves no doubt. English players and coaches were enraged, but their protests were to no avail. Terry Butcher, captain of England’s 1986 team, told CNN Sports the ball represents "the biggest injustice the world’s ever seen when it comes to football matches." Butcher was also the last English defender with a chance to stop Maradona’s second goal, which came just four minutes later and is widely regarded as "the goal of the century."

Maradona died in 2020. His jersey from the England game was auctioned in May for some $9.3 million, a record for sports memorabilia. Experts expect the ball to fetch $3.6 million. Nasser, 78, said he will donate some of the proceeds to charity but use the rest to "raise my standard of life a little." Argentina went on to claim the World Cup that year with a 3-2 win over Germany. CNN notes that the Argentina-England match was notable as the first sporting match between the two countries following the 1982 Falklands War. (Read more Diego Maradona stories.)

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