Maradona's Golden Ball Trophy Set for Controversial Auction in Paris

The French court has ruled that the auction of Diego Maradona's 1986 Golden Ball trophy can proceed despite objections from his heirs. The trophy, missing for decades, resurfaced in 2016. Maradona's family claims it was stolen but the current owner, Mr. Benchaieb, is deemed to be acting in good faith.

PTI | Paris | Updated: 30-05-2024 16:07 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 16:07 IST
Maradona's Golden Ball Trophy Set for Controversial Auction in Paris
Diego Maradona
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  • France

A French court ruled that the auction of a trophy awarded to the late Diego Maradona after the 1986 World Cup can go as planned despite opposition from his heirs, their lawyer told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Maradona's heirs tried to stop the auction of the Golden Ball trophy he received for being the best player of the 1986 World Cup by starting an urgent judicial procedure. Lawyer Gilles Moreu told The AP the court's ruling "was not favourable to the heirs of Diego Maradona." The trophy is set to be auctioned next Thursday in Paris by the Aguttes auction house.

The Golden Ball was missing for decades after it disappeared in uncertain circumstances and only recently resurfaced.

Maradona's heirs say the trophy was stolen and claimed the current owner wasn't entitled to sell it. Aguttes said the trophy reappeared in 2016 among other lots acquired from a private collection at auction in Paris.

Moreu said the president of the Nanterre court outside Paris considered the current owner of the trophy, identified as Mr. Benchaieb, "should be considered as acting in good faith." Benchaieb and Aguttes claimed that when he bought the trophy years ago he was unaware it had been stolen.

Maradona received the award in 1986 at a ceremony at the Lido Cabaret on the Champs-Élysées. It subsequently disappeared, giving rise to rumours.

Some say it was lost during a poker game or sold to pay off debts. Others say Maradona stored it in a safe in a Naples bank that was robbed by local gangsters in 1989 when he played in the Italian league. Maradona's heirs believe it was stolen from the bank.

Moreu added he and his clients were "both surprised and saddened'' by the ruling.

"We intend to use all available means of recourse between now and June 6," he said.

Maradona, who died in 2020 at age 60, captained Argentina in its 3-2 win over West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico City. In a quarterfinal win over England he scored the "Hand of God" goal and the "Goal of the Century." Aguttes said it expects the trophy "to fetch millions due to its uniqueness." Bidders will be asked to deposit 150,000 euros (USD 161,000) to participate in the auction.

The Hand of God goal came when Maradona punched the ball into England's net. Four minutes later, he weaved through England's midfield and defence and past goalkeeper Peter Shilton for what FIFA later declared the greatest goal in World Cup history.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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