The Golden Ball that was stolen from Maradona will be sold at auction in France

The Golden Ball that was stolen from Maradona will be sold at auction in France
The Golden Ball that was stolen from Maradona will be sold at auction in France

Thursday June 5, the Aguttes auction house will put up for sale a “piece of football history”, namely the Golden Ball (or Adidas Golden Ball) won by Diego Maradona in 1986. And the good news , is that the public can come and admire it before the sale.

Notice to all (rich) football fans. The Adidas Golden Ball won by Diego Maradona in 1986, which was stolen by mafiosi in 1989 and which was long believed to have been reduced to gold bars, has been found and will be sold at auction by the Maison Aguttes, located in Neuilly-sur-Seine. A little piece of history that should fetch several million euros!

This trophy has a truly unique history, as recalled by the newspaper “L’Équipe” and the BBC. This Adidas Golden Ball (to be distinguished from the real France Football Golden Ball created in 1956), rewards the best player in a World Cup since 1982. In 1986, Maradona obtained the award after having reigned over the World Cup in Mexico , notably during the Argentina-England quarter-final during which the “Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Kid”) entered the football pantheon with two legendary goals: “the hand of God” and “the goal of century “.

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The award ceremony took place at the Lido de Paris.

AFP / © Pascal GEORGE

It is this piece of football history, perhaps the most beautiful of this unique sport, that we present to you for sale.

Maison Aguttes, on its website

Three years after its presentation to Diego Maradona at the Lido de Paris, on November 13, 1986, the trophy was stolen. Returning to Italy after the ceremony at the Lido, Diego Maradona put his Golden Ball in a safe at the Banca della Provincia in Naples. However, on October 26, 1989, when the bank was preparing to close, eight members of a gang of mafiosi managed to enter the establishment “through a hole in the wall”.

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Their faces hidden by carnival masks and their hands heavily armed, they took the 14 bank employees hostage and forced them to open around sixty safes. Among them, that of Diego Maradona and his future wife, Claudia Villafane. The mafiosi then seized numerous jewels, notably a Rolex watch, but above all, the Argentinian’s Adidas golden ball.

A few years later, Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane finally managed to get their hands on their jewelry… but not on the Ballon d’Or. The mafiosi then explain that the object was “impractical to transport” and that they preferred to melt it to transform it into gold… Other rumors circulate, saying that the trophy was lost during a poker tournament . The story is not clear and “El Pibe de Oro” ends up dropping the matter.

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Estimated to cost several million euros

This is where the third singular element of this affair appears. In 2016, a man bought at auction (and blind) a “suitcase of trophies” from unsold items from Maison Drouot. And it was by searching on the Internet what one of his trophies could possibly correspond to that he made the connection with Diego Maradona and his stolen Ballon d’Or. The man then tried to call the footballer (who died in 2020), Adidas, the AFP and FIFA. In vain.

Aguttes finally got their hands on this trophy “a year ago” and carried out a long period of expert work until they were certain that it was indeed the stolen trophy. In particular, she discovered that the “Golden ball” had not been made of solid gold, but of gold-plated brass and therefore could not be transformed into pure gold. However, François Thierry, sports expert at the auction house, warns: the sale price of Maradona’s Ballon d’Or should be in the millions of euros.

“The shirt he wore in that match against England in 1986 was sold for £9 million (€8.5 million) and the match ball for £2 million (€2.3 million). ‘euros)’, he recalls. The auctions therefore promise to be thrilling and historic.

The auction will take place on June 6, 2024, at 3 p.m., in Neuilly-sur-Seine. And the good news is that the public will be able to admire Maradona’s Golden Ball before its sale with three days of free visits. Tuesday June 4 and Wednesday June 5, 2024 from 10 a.m. to noon and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday June 6 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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