The man who owned Diego Maradona’s famous ‘Hand of God’ shirt will finally put it up for auction after 35 years

An old England international who swapped shirts with Diego Maradona after the 1986 World Cup quarter-final decided to sell the shirt – and it is expected to fetch around £4million at auction.

Steve Hodge swapped shirts with the Argentina legend at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico after knocking out Sir Bobby Robson by scoring twice [and yes, one of those was the famous ‘hand of god’ goal].

In the build-up to that infamous ‘goal hand’ goal, Hodge had unwittingly fed the ball to Maradona. But after the full-time whistle, he decided to ask the Argentine number 10 to change his shirt – despite the controversy surrounding the England exit.

English footballer Steve Hodge holding Argentina’s famous number 10 shirt. Image credit: Alamy

Hodge, who made 24 appearances for the Three Lions, recalled the meeting with Maradona in an interview with FIFA.

“I thought, I won’t be here anymore. I will try to get a shirt,” he said. “I shook hands with Maradona. He was harassed by his teammates. So I thought, ‘There’s no point, let it go.'”

After speaking to the media, Hodge then got a second chance with Maradona. “After the interview, I went down, behind the goal, into the locker room. And as I was going down, Maradona was walking with two of his teammates.

“I looked him in the eye, I pulled my shirt as if to say ‘any chance to trade? “, and he came straight up, said a prayer, and we swapped shirts. This.”

In December 2020, Hodge told the BBC he had had an “uncomfortable” week fending off unwanted requests since the legendary footballer died at 60.

“I had people knocking on my door non-stop and the phone constantly ringing from all TV and radio channels, and even foreign channels.

“It’s been uncomfortable and it hasn’t been pleasant. I’ve seen articles on the internet and there’s been a bit of flak saying I want a million or two million and I’m selling it for cash .

“I find that disrespectful and totally untrue. It’s not for sale. I’m not trying to sell it.”

Englishman Steve Hodge takes on Argentinian Diego Maradona.  Image credit: Alamy
Englishman Steve Hodge takes on Argentinian Diego Maradona. Image credit: Alamy

But 16 months later, Hodge has changed his mind. He will soon be parting ways with the famous shirt, with the auction set to end on Wednesday May 4 at 6:01 p.m. (BST).

“I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years,” Hodge said. “It has deep cultural significance to the world of football, and I’m sure the new owner will take immense pride in owning the world’s most iconic football shirt.”

Sotheby’s, which will auction the jersey, said: “The ‘Hand of God’ is truly a singular moment not only in the history of sport, but in the history of the 20th century.

“The moment resonated far beyond the world of football, shortly after the Falklands conflict, and in turn inspired books, films and documentaries.

“Maradona is now remembered as one of football’s greatest ever players – and this game in particular is an essential part of his legacy.”

Sotherby’s estimated the shirt would fetch between £4,000,000 and £6,000,000, a sum that could break the current record for a game-worn shirt. [£4.2 million for a Yankee’s shirt belonging to baseball player Babe Ruth.]

The greatest shirt swap of all time? For sure.

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