Argentine football bosses have pleaded with ex-England star Steve Hodge to pull out of a £5million auction for Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ shirt – and sell it to them instead .
Former Tottenham midfielder Hodge swapped shirts with Maradona after his two goals for Argentina in their infamous World Cup quarter-final win over England in Mexico in 1986.
Hodge put on the No. 10 jersey for an auction that was due to end on Wednesday.
Maradona passed away last year and the jersey is set to become the most treasured sports memorabilia in history.
But Argentine Football Association (AFA) officials traveled to London to make a desperate and belated appeal to secure the shirt for a Maradona museum in Buenos Aires.
A member of that delegation, which includes Maradona’s family and a private memorabilia company, told The Sun: “He’s selling something that belongs to Maradona and the AFA without permission.
“It should be in Argentina for Argentines to enjoy – not for some millionaire to display in their closet.”
Hodge had loaned the shirt to the National Football Museum in Manchester, but the 59-year-old could now face a legal battle.
Maradona’s family claim Hodge has the shirt the icon used in the first half, not the ‘Hand of God’ shirt.
But Sotheby’s says it has verified beyond doubt that Hodge has the authentic shirt, which has sparked a flood of big offers.