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An iconic trophy linked to Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" World Cup victory is set to be auctioned and is expected to fetch millions.

Argentinian legend Maradona, who passed away in 2020, received the Golden Ball trophy in 1986 for being the standout player at the Mexico tournament. Expected to fetch "millions," the award has resurfaced and is scheduled for auction on 6 June, facilitated by the French company Aguttes.

The auction house in Paris expressed the challenge of providing an estimate for the sale due to the trophy's uniqueness. They emphasised it as a world-first, as there has never been any comparable item. Francois Thierry, the sports expert at Aguttes, noted that numerous stories and legends surround the trophy. However, he mentioned that they conducted thorough checks and even reached out to the authorities for verification.

Thierry told CNN Sport, “We expect millions (again), but we don’t know exactly because there is no trophy like that in the world… from the pinnacle of Maradona’s career. It’s the unique opportunity of a lifetime for the potential buyer.”

“We lost track of it in 1986, there’s been 38 years now. There are a lot of stories and legends, some inconsistent like (being used) to make gold with the mafia. We have also two biographies of Maradona where it doesn’t speak about (the trophy being) stolen. 

"We did necessary checks with database Art Loss and Interpol. We called the police but without result, so we think we did everything we have to do. When we saw it was okay, it was an amazing discovery."

Maradona won the World Cup with Argenina, but his
Maradona won the World Cup with Argenina, but his "stolen" Golden Ball has since resurfaced and will fetch "millions". GETTY IMAGES

Thierry also hailed Maradona, insisting he remains one of the greatest to ever grace the game. “Used far too often wrongly, the word "legend" fits Diego Maradona perfectly," he continued. "He is to football what Mohamed Ali is to boxing or Michael Jordan to basketball, an iconic icon who goes far beyond the boundaries of his sport. He is certainly one of the most human athletes we have ever known, with his strengths and weaknesses.

“The golden kid "El Pibe de Oro" also nicknamed "the God of football", is a special case in the history of world football, a raw and instinctive talent, in a career punctuated by strokes of brilliance with both success and excess. The history of football with a capital H is closely linked to that of Maradona."

Since the 1982 FIFA World Cup, the Golden Ball has honored the tournament's best player, solidifying its position as one of the most esteemed individual accolades in football. Maradona was presented with the Golden Ball trophy in Paris at Lido on 13 November, 1986, in recognition of his outstanding performance as the top player of the World Cup.

When it goes up for sale, it will mark the inaugural auction of a Golden Ball trophy. Although the design of the Golden Ball changes with each World Cup, the 1986 trophy incorporates the patterns of the official Adidas "Azteca" ball utilised during the tournament in Mexico.

Argentina legend Maradona's famous
Argentina legend Maradona's famous "Hand of God" goal against England is still remembered to this day. GETTY IMAGES

While numerous football enthusiasts may regard the 1986 tournament as memorable, for many England fans, it will forever be associated with Maradona's "Hand of God" goal. “To say this World Cup had it all would be an understatement: phenomenal goals were scored, and countless world-class talents were on display," Thierry added.

“It is also, above all, at this tournament that Diego Maradona really showed the whole world what he could do with his feet, and even with his hands..." On 22 June of that year, England faced Argentina in the quarterfinals, a mere four years after the Falklands War.

Maradona infamously outmanoeuvred England's goalkeeper Peter Shilton, utilising his raised fist to punch the ball into the net for his first goal, a move he later described as being scored by the "Hand of God." Mere four minutes later, he netted another goal, later voted as the "Goal of the Century" in a FIFA poll. Starting from his own half, he skilfully bypassed five England players before slotting home his second goal.

Crafted from a gold copper alloy, the trophy stands at 28 cm tall and weighs approximately four kilograms. The match ball involved in Maradona's infamous "Hand of God" goal fetched €1.8 million in November 2022, while his famed-shirt brought in €8.6m