LONDON - The ball that Diego Maradona used to score his infamous "Hand of God" World Cup goal for Argentina against England in 1986 will go under the hammer next month and could fetch up to £3 million (S$4.81 million).
Bidding will start on Nov 16, but prospective buyers can register online from Oct 28, London-based Graham Budd Auctions said, adding it anticipates the ball to sell for £2.5-£3 million.
"With the history surrounding the ball, we are expecting this lot to be hugely popular when it comes up for auction," Mr Graham Budd, chair of the auction house, said in a statement.
The 1986 quarter-final between Argentina and England saw a heated build-up because of political tensions following the Falklands war and came to be defined by two contrasting goals scored by the late Maradona.
For the first one, Maradona ran into the box, rose with England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net.
He later said the goal had been scored "a little with the head of Maradona, a little with the hand of God".
The second came just four minutes later as Maradona sped past five English defenders and Shilton to score the "Goal of the Century", according to a 2002 Fifa poll.
Argentina won the grudge match 2-1 after referee Ali Bin Nasser let Maradona's controversial first goal stand, and the team went on to win the World Cup.
"This ball is part of international football history, it feels like the right time to be sharing it with the world," said Mr Bin Nasser, the owner of the ball.
In May, the jersey Maradona wore in the quarter-final sold at auction for nearly US$9.3 million (S$13.24 million), more than twice the value predicted by Sotheby's.
But the record-setting sale for sports memorabilia worn on the field was surpassed in September when basketball legend Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA finals jersey sold for US$10.1 million.
Maradona died aged 60 of heart failure in November 2020. AFP