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Maradona 1986 World Cup shirt sells for £7.1m at auction to break world record for sporting memorabilia

The shirt Diego Maradona wore in the second half of Argentina's 1986 World Cup quarter-final victory over England became the world's most expensive piece of sporting memorabilia after selling for £7.1 million at auction on Wednesday.

Auction house Sotheby's had estimated a price between £4m and £6m for the jersey, which was previously in the possession of Maradona's 1986 adversary Steve Hodge.

However the reserve price of £4m was reached within hours of the auction beginning, and its final price marks a new high in the sporting world.

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What was the previous record-holder?

Maradona's blue jersey sets two separate record for a piece of memorabilia.

It is now both the most valuable match-worn shirt, surpassing the amount paid in 2019 for an item once worn by baseball legend Babe Ruth.

It is also the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia of any kind, a mark previously held by the original copy of Pierre de Coubertin's Olympic Games manifesto dating back to 1892.

Why is the jersey so valuable?

As well as having graced the back of one of football's greatest players, the shirt was also involved in two of its most iconic goals.

Maradona wore it while scoring both of his strikes against England - the 'Hand of God', steered over Peter Shilton's head, and the 'Goal of the Century', perhaps the greatest World Cup goal of all time.

The late star's family claimed that the jersey held by Hodge, and which since 2002 has sat in Manchester's National Football Museum, was not the authentic version, but rather the one worn by Maradona in the first half.

Sotheby's, however, used Resolution Photomatching to confirm the article and there is no question that it is the shirt in which Maradona made football history.

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