Maradona's World Cup Golden Ball trophy had mysteriously disappeared. It will be auctioned in Paris

Diego Maradona’s Golden Ball trophy from the 1986 World Cup has resurfaced. The award, which had been missing for decades, will be auctioned in Paris next month, the Aguttes house said Tuesday.

Maradona, who died in 2020 at age 60, was awarded the trophy for his scintillating play at the tournament, where he captained Argentina in its 3-2 win over West Germany in the final in Mexico City. Before that, he scored the controversial “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century" in a 2-1 win over England in the quarterfinals.

The auction house said it expects the trophy “to fetch millions due to its uniqueness."

Maradona received the award — given to the tournament's best player — at a ceremony at the Lido cabaret on the Champs-Élysées in 1986. It subsequently disappeared, giving rise to rumors.

Some say it was lost during a wild poker game, or sold to pay off debts, Aguttes said.

Others said Maradona had stored it in a safe in a Naples bank that was robbed by local gangsters in 1989, when he played in the Italian league. According to the story told by a reformed member of the mafia, the trophy was then melted down into gold pieces.

“A far-fetched theory, given that it was made of a gold-copper alloy,” Aguttes said in its auction catalogue.

Aguttes said the trophy reappeared in 2016 among other lots that were acquired from a private collection at auction in Paris.

“It was thoroughly investigated and authenticated as Diego Maradona’s Adidas Golden Ball trophy,” Aguttes said.

The “Hand of God” goal came when Maradona punched the ball into England’s net for his team’s opener. Maradona was also a magician with the ball at his feet and four minutes later, he weaved through England’s midfield and defense and then past goalkeeper Peter Shilton for what FIFA later declared the greatest goal in World Cup history.

“To say that this World Cup had it all would be an understatement ... it was also, and above all, the tournament where Diego Maradona really showed the world what he could do with his feet, and even with his hands,” said François Thierry, a sports expert at Aguttes.

Bidders will be asked to make a deposit of 150,000 euros ($161,000) to participate in the June 6 auction.

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