SOTHEBY’S has brushed off sensational claims by Diego Maradona’s daughter that the Argentina shirt up for auction is NOT the one in which her father scored the Hand of God goal.
The UK auction house have launched their own investigation and are happy this is the correct shirt.
Dalma Maradona, 35, has insisted the shirt destined to fetch over £4m under the hammer was worn by his legendary father against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
However, she said he wore this top during the goalless first half – and due to the heat at the Azteca Stadium he changed his shirt for his two iconic goals to eliminate the Three Lions.
Dalma, one of Diego’s two daughters with his ex-wife Claudia Villafane, added to the controversy by adding that the actual shirt Maradona wore at the time is in the hands of a mysterious owner whom she refused to name.
Maradona’s controversial 51st-minute Hand of God goal was followed by a second four minutes later, widely regarded as the greatest of all time, in which he dribbled past several England players before flicking the ball past Peter Shilton.
But Sotheby’s – which is handling the sale after former England midfielder Steve Hodge decided to let go – said the claims about the Maradona shirt were “false”.
And Bond Street brokers are confident they got the right one after their “thorough diligence and scientific research”.
A spokeswoman said: “There was indeed a different shirt worn by Maradona in the first half, but there are clear differences between this and what was worn during goals.
“Before putting this shirt on sale, we carried out extensive and scientific research on the article to ensure that it was the shirt worn by Maradona in the second half for both goals.”
She added: “This object has a clear provenance, it is recorded by the man who kicked Maradona in the Hand of God game. [Hodge].
“Maradona acknowledges the provenance himself, in his book Touched by God, and he remembers giving it to Steve Hodge.
“It’s been in the National Football Museum for 20 years, where countless people have seen it. There’s never been a claim that it’s not the shirt.
Sotheby’s said it had hired an outside expert to examine the auctioned shirt which had found “several successful matches” with the one with which Maradona scored his two second-half goals.
A catalog note for the item reads: “Sotheby’s worked with Resolution Photomatching to match the shirt to both purposes by reviewing unique details on various elements of the item, including the patch, stripes and numbering.
“Resolution Photomatching was able to make a concluding photomatch at the celebration after the Hand of God goal.
“Resolution Photomatching determined that Maradona changed his shirt during the match, but Maradona wore that shirt for the historic two goals in the second half of the match.”
The Diego Maradona shirt is being auctioned online by Sotheby’s in London from April 20 to May 4, with the winning bid estimated at £4-6million.
‘THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC SHIRT’
The most expensive match jersey ever sold was one of baseball legend Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees jerseys, which fetched £4.3million in 2019.
Dalma, speaking on his Radio Metro show in Argentina, previously raised questions about the jersey
She said: “This ex-England player thinks he has my dad’s second half shirt, but there is confusion.
“He has the upper hand in the first half. I wanted to explain this to people so whoever wants to buy it knows the truth.
Asked where the shirt was which she said Diego wore when he scored, she added: “My mum doesn’t have it. I know who has it but I’m not going to say who it was. ‘a not to expose this person.
“All I can say is that the one up for auction is not the one my dad scored his goals with.”
Former England midfielder Hodge, who for the past 20 years has loaned the shirt to the National Football Museum in Manchester, swapped shirts with Maradona full-time in Mexico.
He said: “I was walking through the tunnel and Maradona was coming from the opposite direction. I just tugged on my shirt and we traded on the spot.
Revealing why he is now selling the famous No 10 top, the father-of-three added: “”I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years, ever since Diego and I swapped shirts in the tunnel after the famous game.
“It was an absolute privilege to have played against one of the greatest and most magnificent footballers of all time.
“It has also been a pleasure to share it with the public over the past 20 years at the National Football Museum, where it has been displayed.
“The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural significance for the world of football, the people of Argentina and the people of England and I’m sure the new owner will be extremely proud to own the most iconic football shirt in the world.”