Argentina’s football fans rejoiced as one of national hero Diego Maradona’s iconic jerseys was ‘returned’ on Thursday.
At a ceremony in Madrid’s Argentinian embassy, former Germany captain, Lothar Matthäus, unveiled the symbolic number 10 shirt worn by Maradona during the 1986 World Cup final.
The footballer admitted that parting with the shirt was a difficult decision for him.
”It was hard for me to give this shirt back because it’s such a great souvenir,” he said. “But in the end, I knew that this amazing relic of the history of world football … belonged here in Madrid.”
Matthäus exchanged the shirt with Maradona at halftime during the World Cup final match and kept it ever since. The final was intense and closely fought, with Argentia emerging victorious 3-2.
Calls for the shirt to be ‘repatriated’ have grown louder and more insistent over the last 36 years.
The shirt will go on display at the football museum ‘Legends’ in the Spanish capital Madrid.
It was not the only shirt that Matthäus exchanged with the Argentinian legend. In the 1990 World Cup final, both players handed over their jerseys after Germany beat Argentina 1-0.
That shirt remains in a museum in Germany.
Earlier in May, another shirt worn by Maradonna during the England-Argentina quarter-finals of Mexico ’86, which went down in history for his ‘hand of god’ goal, fetched over 9 million euros at auction.
This final price made the shirt the most expensive match-worn sports shirt in history.