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What's the Most Expensive Retro Football Shirt Of All Time?

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What's the Most Expensive Retro Football Shirt Of All Time?

Here at TOFFS, we're fascinated by the history and memories associated with collecting football shirts, and the associations that make some shirts so valuable. As such, we wanted to answer the question: what's the single most expensive football shirt ever sold at auction, and why was it so prized?

Fortunately, we don't have to go back too far in history to get the answer to this, as the record for the most expensive football shirt was broken as recently as May 2022. Here, we take a look at the story behind this legendary football kit, and the player who made it famous...

The £7.1m sale of Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" shirt

All of the world's most valuable football shirts have a story attached to them - so it's only fitting that the single most expensive shirt is inextricably linked to one of football's most iconic superstars, and the match for which he is best remembered.

The kit in question is the shirt worn by Argentina legend and all-time footballing great Diego Maradona during the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup between Argentina and England, one of the most famous single matches in World Cup history. Following this famous clash, the shirt worn by Maradona was kept by former England defender Steve Hodge, who swapped shirts with the Argentina captain at the end of the game.

Hodge retained personal possession of the famous shirt worn by Maradona for more than 16 years, before allowing it to go on public display alongside other classic football shirts at the National Football Museum in Manchester. After more than 35 years of ownership, Hodge eventually decided to put the kit up for auction at Sotheby's.

Pre-auction estimates suggested that the sale would generate more than £4 million, which would already have been enough to make it one of the most expensive football shirts of all time; in the event, the final bid ended up at a whopping £7,142,500, not only setting a new record for valuable shirts, but also registering as one of the most expensive pieces of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction!

The story of Maradona's "Hand of God" shirt

It's easy to understand why the "Hand of God" shirt was so sought-after when taking into consideration the remarkable story of the match itself, which took place on June 22nd 1986 at the World Cup Finals in Mexico City, and saw Diego Maradona score two of the most famous goals in the history of football.

The game saw Argentina take on England at a time when tensions and rivalry between the two nations were at an all-time high, due to the ongoing legacy of the recent Falklands War. In the midst of a fevered atmosphere, it was Maradona who broke the deadlock in the 51st minute with the infamous "Hand of God" goal, which saw the diminutive genius get on the end of a miscued Steve Hodge clearance and clearly handle the ball into the net, past the furious England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

In the aftermath of the game, the Argentina superstar claimed the ball had gone in "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God", resulting in an iconic nickname for the controversial incident. In subsequent years, Maradona has admitted that the goal was an obvious handball - but nevertheless relished it as a "symbolic revenge against the English".

However, Maradona wasn't done yet. Four minutes after the Hand of God goal, Argentina's number 10 embarked on an unstoppable 60-yard run that saw him beat four English players - including Terry Butcher twice! - before sitting Shilton down and stroking the ball into the net. This unbelievable piece of individual skill has been dubbed the Goal of the Century, and remains widely seen as one of the greatest solo goals in football history.

Although Gary Lineker was able to pull a goal back in the 81st minute, Argentina edged the match 2-1, and went on to win the tournament overall, beating West Germany 3-2 in the World Cup Final a week later. Maradona was already a football icon, but it was the Hand of God game - including the goals he scored, and the historical context - that turned him into one of the most famous personalities in all of sport.

Get your replica Diego Maradona "Hand of God" shirt from TOFFS

With this history in mind, it's no surprise that the worn shirt used by Diego Maradona on that fateful day would be in such high demand. Few kits can claim that level of individual significance, so it seems likely that the iconic blue away shirt will remain as one of the most expensive football shirts of all time for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, for everyday football fans who want their own little piece of that history, you can do so without paying £7.1 million for the privilege! Here at TOFFS, we sell an incredible high-quality replica of the Argentina 1986 World Cup Away Shirt, as worn by Maradona during the England match, in both adult and kids sizes. You too can pull on the famous blue, with Maradona's name and number emblazoned across the back, to pay your own tribute to the Argentinian legend!

We also sell the Argentina 1986 World Cup Home Shirt, in more traditional blue-and-white stripes, in adult and kids sizes. This famous shirt also features Maradona's name and number, and is identical to the kit worn by Argentina during that year's World Cup Final triumph over West Germany.

Browse our full range of Argentina retro shirts for even more ways to celebrate the life and times of Diego Maradona, here at TOFFS!

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