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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/10/2022

The late Diego Maradona is widely considered one of the best footballers of all time. The legendary Argentine nicknamed “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”) was selected alongside Pelé as FIFA’s Player of the 20th Century. The short, stout magician with lightning-quick feet starred for the Argentina National Team as an attacking midfielder and forward from 1977-1994, leading his home country to the World Cup title in 1986. In Argentina’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over England, Maradona scored two of the most significant goals in soccer history just a few minutes apart – the notorious “Hand of God” followed by FIFA’s “Goal of the Century” in which he dribbled through the entire English line of defense. The jersey he wore for those two goals recently sold in May 2022 for a whopping $9.28 million – a record for any piece of sports memorabilia.

Featured here is an incredibly scarce, Argentina match-worn jersey from very early in Maradona’s career, with fantastic former teammate provenance. Diego made his debut with the Under-20 Argentina National Team in the fall of 1976 just ten days before his 16th birthday. Ironically, he was given the #16 shirt to start. His international debut came in February ’77 and he would switch to #9 (commonly allotted for strikers) at his first major tournament, the South American Youth Championship hosted in Venezuela from April 16 – May 6. It was there – and only there – that Maradona wore #9, making this one of the rarest of his early National Team kits. He would score eight goals in 15 caps for Argentina’s U-20 squad, and it wasn’t long before Diego earned the coveted No. 10 jersey and became a fixture on La Albiceleste.

The classic sky blue and white striped jersey has the “AFA” (Argentine Football Association) emblem on the left chest, with Maradona’s early No. “9” in black on the reverse. The collared shirt with ribbed sleeves is covered in soiling and sweat stains from excessive game use. The local “Lanus” (city in Argentina) manufacturer’s tagging inside the collar indicates a size 42 and “Puro Algodón” [pure cotton] material. Despite the heavy wear, the shirt remains problem-free and comes with a letter from former Argentine footballer, Eduardo Emilio Delgado, who played professionally for 14 years and was teammates with Maradona at one point. The letter specifically states that Diego wore this shirt on 4/24/1977 against Venezuela, which resulted in a scoreless draw.

We know of only one other #9 Maradona U-20 Argentina jersey to hit the market, and it sold for $14,400 in 2021. That jersey had no provenance and showed very light wear compared to this one. Argentina played just four games in an eight-day span (April 16-24), failing to advance beyond the group stage, so it’s very likely that 16-year-old Diego wore no more than two jerseys at the 1977 South American Youth Tournament. Images and videos of Maradona wearing #9 are virtually non-existent, but included in the paperwork is a front shot of Diego lining up with the U-20's with No. 9 on his black shorts. We are confident that this jersey would pass MEARS inspection with flyng colors; however, our consignor did not see the point in paying a substantial authentication fee since it already has a letter from Maradona's former teammate.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $9,343
Number Bids:8
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