Maradona’s Heirs Fight to Stop Auction of Stolen Golden Ball Trophy

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In a thrilling soccer saga that blends elements of mystery, law, and family ties, it has come to light that the heirs of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona are waging a legal battle to halt the impending auction of a prestigious trophy he received post Argentina’s World Cup triumph in 1986. The award in question – the Golden Ball trophy, given to the tournament’s best player, has allegedly surfaced after many decades of its unexplained absence.

Spectators who remember the electrifying World Cup of ’86 might recall Maradona, then just 26, captaining the Argentine side to a riveting 3-2 victory over West Germany in the tournament’s final held in Mexico City. His extraordinary performance, marked most notably by the “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century” in the quarterfinals against England, left an indelible mark on the tournament.

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However, the golden memento of this glorious chapter in Maradona’s career has found itself at the heart of a contentious debate. The heirs of Maradona, who passed away in 2020, allege the trophy was purloined and posit that its current holder has no lawful right to sell it.

These developments have spurred Gilles Moreu, a counsel associated with the Paradox Lawyers firm, to go on the offensive. Guests at the auction, scheduled to take place next month in Paris, are unlikely to find the gleaming trophy among the lots for sale if Moreu’s urgent request to the president of the Nanterre judicial court is heeded. The lawyer plans to seek a judicial sequester of the trophy while laying charges of theft and concealed theft.

According to the Aguttes auction house, the Golden Ball trophy mysteriously emerged in 2016, as part of a private collection acquired at an auction in Paris. The organization has anticipated a windfall from its sale, thanks to its unique backstory, and projected it to garner millions.

The missing trophy narrative has been the source of much speculation. Beyond the official tale of Maradona receiving it at a ceremony at Paris’s famed Lido cabaret post the World Cup, the trophy’s story veers into the realm of conjecture. Some say it was lost in a high-stakes poker game or sold to pay off personal debts. Another popular rumor suggests the footballer had placed it in a Naples bank safe, only for it to allegedly stolen by local mobsters in 1989, during his tenure in the Italian league.

Moreu, who represents two of Maradona’s daughters, stated the family became aware only recently about the trophy’s theft. As per the attorney, they are seeking to ban the sale as they believe the trophy rightfully belongs to them.

Interestingly, the auction house defends the new trophy owner, arguing ignorance about the trophy’s dubious history at the time of purchase, a much-contested point in French law’s concept of ownership. In rebuke, the Paradox Lawyers’ statement stated, “The owner of a trophy, that was famously stolen from Diego Maradona and whose heirs can legally claim ownership, cannot preserved their good faith.”

The auction house insists its due diligence, corroborated with French and Italian authorities, found no evidence disputing the seller’s good faith or ownership. The auction, with a deposit of 150,000 euros, is set for June 6th, a circumstance depending largely on the legal outcome of the ownership tussle over Maradona’s Golden Ball trophy.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.