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Diego Maradona: ‘Stolen’ Golden Ball to be Auctioned

Diego Maradona's "stolen" Golden Ball trophy, awarded for being named the best player at the 1986 World Cup, has been found and will be auctioned off in France on 6 June.

The Aguttes auction house announced on Tuesday that the item had resurfaced and they expect it to be sold for “millions”.

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

“There are a lot of stories and legends like it was stolen by the mafia to make gold,” the Aguttes auction house sport expert Francois Thierry told BBC Sport. “We did all the necessary checks and called the police about it.

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“We have had the ball for about one year. We did a lot of research about it since there are a lot of details in terms of manufacturer comments until we could say it was a good one.”

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The Golden Ball was bought by an anonymous seller in 2016 at an auction in France. However, he was unaware of what item he had purchased.

“He bought it with many other things, at the beginning he did not know it was something important,” Thierry added.

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“In the case he bought there were a lot of trophies. He then searched on the internet and found it could be the Golden Ball.

“He tried to call Diego Maradona and Fifa, but had no luck.”

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

Maradona outjumped England keeper Peter Shilton to punch his first goal into the net with a raised fist, which was later described by the Argentine as being scored by the “Hand of God”.

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

Both the jersey he wore that day, along with the ball from the match, have previously been sold at auction for millions.

“The trophy symbolizes the pinnacle of his career and he is the player of the century,” Thierry said.

“We can see there were some results from before when his jersey against England in 1986 being sold for I think £9m and the ball of the game went for £2m, so we expect millions.”, external

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