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    The ball which Diego Maradona used to score his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup will be auctioned in the UK next month with an estimate of £2.5-£3million (€2.8m-€3.4m). It will be sold by Graham Budd Auctions at a World Cup sale on November 16. The football was used throughout the contentious quarter final, which took place just four years after the end of the Falklands War. 

    Argentina star Maradona famously punched the ball beyond England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to open the scoring in the quarter-final clash at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. He followed up the controversial incident by claiming a superb solo second, which has become known as the ‘Goal of the Century’. England fought back with an 81st minute goal from Gary Lineker which won him the Golden Boot, but ultimately, Argentina took the match 2-1, shattering England’s World Cup dreams, before going on to win the tournament.

    Referee Ali Bin Nasser, who took charge of the tie and failed to spot the handball, is the owner of the ball. Bin Nasser said: “This ball is part of international football history – it feels like the right time to be sharing it with the world. At Mexico ‘86 I was  among the 42 referees at the tournament. African referees didn’t get the same opportunities as those in Europe, so to be told by FIFA that I was chosen because I was among the best in the world was a huge honour and a career highlight.”

    So far this year, a number of sporting auctions have broken records. The shirt Maradona wore during the same quarter final match was sold in May for $9.3 million, a new world record for any piece of sporting memorabilia. This was beaten just three months later when a Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for $12.6 million in August. Last month Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA finals jersey sold for $10.1 million, a new world record for any piece of ‘game worn’ sporting memorabilia.

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