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Maradona’s Heirs fail to stop ‘Golden Ball’ trophy sale

Diego Maradona‘s heirs lost their legal bid to block the sale of the Argentine football legend’s ‘Golden Ball’ trophy won in the 1986 Mexico World Cup.

The trophy, awarded to the tournament’s best player, had been missing for decades before an antique dealer discovered it in Paris. It is set to be auctioned by Aguttes in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, on June 6.

Maradona’s family claimed the trophy, presented to their father in November 1986 at the Lido Cabaret in Paris, was stolen during a bank robbery three years later in Naples. However, the Nanterre court outside Paris ruled that the heirs “did not present any criminal proceedings that would have been filed by the footballer during his lifetime.”

“Proof of the existence of this theft cannot be based solely on press articles,” the court stated.

Lawyers for Maradona’s family, who argued that the trophy rightfully belongs to his five heirs, are appealing the decision. Gilles Moreau of the Paradox law firm told AFP, “This concerns a trophy awarded to a football legend, it should go to Argentina.”

Maradona, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 60, left behind a legacy rich with memorabilia. In 2022, his Argentina jersey from the 1986 tournament sold for nearly $9.3 million, and the “Hand of God” ball from the quarter-final against England sold for $2.4 million.

Lawyers representing the person who founded the ‘Golden Ball’ and the auction house organizing the sale argued their clients acted in good faith. Maximilien Aguttes, director of the auction house, mentioned a rumour that Maradona forgot the trophy at the Lido the evening it was awarded.

The antique dealer who acquired the trophy said he bought it at an auction in 2016 as part of a lot comprising hundreds of trophies, most of which had little value.

The public prosecutor’s office confirmed to AFP that a criminal complaint has also been filed regarding the matter.