Maradona Golden Ball 2643 Webpvb 10 05 24

The Golden Ball is in the style of the ‘Azteca’ match ball used in the 1986 World Cup. 

Image copyright: Aguttes/Yann Vernerie

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The sale of Diego Maradona’s 1986 Ballon d’Or trophy set for auction has been suspended following a dispute over its ownership.

The trophy was set to be sold at Aguttes on June 6 but the Paris auction house has suspended its sale following an appeal from Maradona’s heirs who claim the trophy was stolen from a Naples bank in 1989.

The legal owner is currently Abdelhamid B, a small-scale collector who bought the trophy at a small Paris auction in 2016 for a few hundred pounds, apparently unaware of its significance. The trophy hadn’t been seen since its disappearance in 1989, which fuelled rumours that it had either been stolen or been lost by Maradona in a wild game of poker.

The suspension comes despite French courts ruling the sale could go ahead because the current owner “acted in good faith” when buying the award and because he held it for three years without any claims of ownership from the Maradona family. A parallel investigation into its concealment is pending.

Despite the French court’s ruling, the question marks surrounding its ownership did not create the ideal buying environment which prompted Aguttes to suspend the sale.

The auction house did not release an estimate on the trophy but it was expected to reach up to £10m if sold. 

Maradona received the award after being voted player of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where he captained his Argentina team to victory after beating West Germany in the final.

The Argentina icon’s match-worn shirt from the quarter final game against England sold for £6m in 2022.