SOTHEBY'S brushed off sensational claims from Diego Maradona's daughter that the Argentina shirt put up for auction is NOT the one her dad scored the Hand of God goal in.
The British auction house launched their own investigation and are happy it IS the right jersey.
Dalma Maradona, 35, insisted the shirt set to fetch more than £4million under the hammer was worn by her legendary father against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
However, she said he wore that top during the goalless first half – and because of the heat at the Azteca Stadium changed into another shirt for his two iconic goals to dump the Three Lions out.
Dalma, one of Diego’s two daughters with his ex-wife Claudia Villafane, added further controversy by adding the actual shirt Maradona was wearing at the time is in the hands of a mystery owner she declined to name.
Maradona’s controversial Hand of God goal in the 51st minute was followed by a second four minutes later which is widely considered to be the greatest ever in which he dribbled past several England players before slotting the ball past Peter Shilton.
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But Sotheby's – who are running the sale after ex-England midfielder Steve Hodge decided to let go – said the claims being made about the Maradona shirt were “false”.
And the Bond Street brokers are confident they gave got the right one after their "extensive diligence and scientific research".
A spokeswoman said: “There was indeed a different shirt worn by Maradona in the first half but there are clear differences between that and what was worn during the goals.
“Prior to putting this shirt for sale, we did extensive diligence and scientific research on the item to make sure it was the shirt worn by Maradona in the second half for the two goals.”
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She added: “This object has clear provenance, it is being consigned by the man that kicked Maradona the ball on the Hand of God play [Hodge].
“Maradona acknowledges the provenance himself, in his book Touched by God, and he recalls giving it to Steve Hodge.
“It’s been in the National Football Museum for 20 years, where countless people have seen it. There has never been a claim that it’s not the shirt.”
Sotheby's said it had hired an expert outside firm to examine the shirt that is being auctioned which had found “multiple conclusive matches” to the one Maradona scored his two second-half goals with.
A catalogue note for the item states: “Sotheby’s worked with Resolution Photomatching in order to match the shirt to both goals examining unique details on various elements of the item, including the patch, stripes, and numbering.
“Resolution Photomatching was able to make a conclusive photomatch to the celebration following the Hand of God goal.
“Resolution Photomatching did determine that Maradona switched shirts during the match, but that Maradona did wear this shirt for both historic goals in the second half of the match.”
The Diego Maradona shirt is being auctioned online by Sotheby’s in London from April 20 to May 4 with the winning bid estimated to be between £4m and £6m.
'WORLD'S MOST ICONIC SHIRT'
The most expensive match shirt ever sold was one of baseball legend Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees jerseys which went for £4.3m in 2019.
Dalma, speaking on her show on Radio Metro in Argentina, had earlier raised questions over the jersey
She said: “That ex-England player thinks he’s got my dad’s second-half shirt but there's a confusion.
“He has the first-half top. I wanted to explain that to people so that whoever wants to buy it knows the truth.”
Quizzed on the whereabouts of the shirt she said Diego wore when scoring, she added: “My mum hasn’t got it. I know who has but I’m not going to say who’s got it so as not to expose that person.
“All I can say is that the one that’s being auctioned is not the one my dad scored his goals with.”
Former England midfielder Hodge, who for the past 20 years has loaned the shirt to the National Football Museum in Manchester, traded shirts with Maradona at full-time in Mexico.
He said: “I was walking down the tunnel and Maradona was coming in the opposite direction. I just tugged my shirt and we swapped there and then.”
Revealing why he is now selling the famous No10 top, the dad-of-three added: “'I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years, since Diego and I swapped shirts in the tunnel after the famed match.
“It was an absolute privilege to have played against one of the greatest and most magnificent football players of all time.
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"It has also been a pleasure to share it with the public over the last 20 years at the National Football Museum, where it has been on display.
“The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural meaning to the football world, the people of Argentina, and the people of England and I'm certain that the new owner will have immense pride in owning the world's most iconic football shirt.”
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