• Saturday, June 15, 2024
businessday logo


Maradona family halts sale of 1986 World Cup ‘Golden Ball’ trophy

Maradona 1986 World Cup ‘Golden Ball’ trophy

The heirs of Diego Maradona have initiated legal actions in France to prevent the auction of the Argentine football legend’s ‘Golden Ball’ trophy from the 1986 Mexico World Cup.

This prestigious award, presented to the tournament’s best player, had been missing for decades before being rediscovered by an antique dealer in Paris.

The auction, organized by Aguttes in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris, is scheduled for June 6. However, Maradona’s family claims the trophy rightfully belongs to his five heirs.

Lawyers representing the family argue that the trophy, which is expected to fetch millions, was stolen during a 1989 bank robbery in Naples.

In recent years, memorabilia from Maradona’s illustrious career has fetched significant sums.

His jersey from the 1986 World Cup was sold for nearly $9.3 million in 2022, and the “Hand of God” ball from the infamous quarter-final against England sold for $2.4 million later that year.

According to the Maradona family, the trophy was awarded to Maradona in November 1986 at the Lido Cabaret in Paris but was stolen three years later. They discovered the trophy was to be auctioned only a few weeks ago and took immediate legal action.

Lola Chunet, a lawyer for the family, expressed the family’s determination: “The family aims to recover this ball, the Argentine people want to recover this ball,” she told a court in Nanterre.

In contrast, Arthur Gaulier, representing Aguttes, contended that the family’s claim, made 35 years after the alleged theft without prior complaint, appeared opportunistic. The auction house director, Maximilien Aguttes, mentioned a circulating legend that Maradona had forgotten the trophy at the Lido the night it was awarded.

The antique dealer who acquired the trophy stated he bought it at an auction in 2016 within a lot of several trophies, for a total of 500 euros. Realizing its potential significance, he contacted one of Maradona’s lawyers to verify its authenticity.

The court is set to decide on May 30 whether the sale can proceed. Concurrently, a criminal complaint has been filed, as confirmed by the prosecution.

It’s important to note that this ‘Golden Ball’ trophy is different from the ‘Ballon d’Or,’ which is awarded annually by France Football magazine to the world’s best player.