Diego Maradona: ‘Stolen’ Golden Ball to be auctioned off

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Argentine Diego Maradona won the Golden Ball in Paris for the best player in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

  • author, Alastair Telfer
  • Role, BBC Sport journalist

Diego Maradona’s ‘stolen’ Ballon d’Or, awarded for being named the best player at the 1986 World Cup, has been found and will be auctioned in France on June 6.

Agotis Auctions announced on Tuesday that the piece had resurfaced and expected to sell for “millions.”

Maradona, who died in 2020, won the award after leading Argentina to win the World Cup in Mexico.

François Thierry, a sports expert at Agoutis auction house, told BBC Sport: “There are a lot of stories and legends, like that the mafia stole it to make gold.” “We have done all the necessary checks and contacted the police about it.

“We’ve had the ball for about a year. We’ve done a lot of research on it because there’s a lot of detail in terms of manufacturer feedback so we can say it was good.”

The Ballon d’Or was purchased by the anonymous seller in 2016 at an auction in France. However, he did not know what item he had purchased.

Thierry added: “He bought it along with many other things. At first he didn’t know it was something important.”

“If he bought it there were a lot of prizes. Then he looked online and found it could be the Ballon d’Or.

“He tried to contact Maradona and FIFA, but had no luck.”

The 1986 World Cup is best remembered for Maradona’s two goals against England in the quarter-finals.

Maradona beat England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to slot home his first goal with a raised fist, which the Argentine later described as scored by the “Hand of God.”

His second goal was voted “Goal of the Century” in a FIFA poll, as Maradona dribbled from his own half past five of his English players to score.

The jersey he wore that day, along with the ball he played with in the match, were sold at auction for millions of dollars.

Thierry said: “The cup symbolizes the pinnacle of his career, and he is the Player of the Century.”

“We can see there were some results before when his shirt against England in 1986 was sold for £9m I think, and the ball went into the game for £2m, so We expect millions.”

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