Diego Armando Maradona, Argentina
Diego Maradona is the only player in World Cup history to register at least five goals and five assists in a single tournament Pascal George/Via CNN/AFP/Getty Images

SEATTLE - Diego Maradona's heirs will file a lawsuit to try to stop the auction of Maradona's Golden Ball award. He won this award after his legendary performance at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where Argentina claimed the second of its three world titles.

First reported by AP, the award had been missing for decades after it mysteriously disappeared in "unclear circumstances" but reappeared recently and was anticipated to go on a multi-million dollar auction next month. But the heirs of the late Argentine superstar want the auction to be called off, according to their lawyer.

The trophy presented to the best player at each World Cup tournament is expected to be sold by Aguttes auction house in Paris on June 6.

Since his death, Maradona's memorabilia has been one of the most coveted possessions for collectors that are willing to pay huge sums of money to own a piece of history. In 2022, his match-worn Argentina jersey from the 1986 World Cup sold for more than $9 million while the "Hand of God" ball sold for $2.4 million that same year.

Despite the auction house's efforts, Maradona's heirs argue the trophy was stolen and claim the current owner cannot be entitled to sell it. Gilles Moreu, a lawyer from Paradox Lawyers firm, said he will file an urgent request to have the Golden Ball withdrawn from the auction. Moreu told the AP he will also request judicial sequestration of the trophy and file a complaint for theft and concealed theft.

How did the Aguttes auction house get its hands on the trophy? Well, nobody really knows.

As one would expect, there are multiple stories about how an item like this disappeared. Tales of Maradona having to sell the award to pay off debts have been popular. Other versions of the story say Maradona stored it in a safe in a Naples bank that was robbed by local thieves in 1989. But the Aguttes auction house argues it reappeared in 2016 among other lots that were acquired from a private collection. Maradona received the award in 1986 and quickly disappeared.

The two daughters of the late Argentine star believe the award belongs to them but the auction house argues that they did all the necessary research to put the award up for sale. Maximilien Aguttes said that the result of their research has "no evidence to challenge the good faith and ownership of the seller."

Despite Maradona's heirs wanting to take legal action against the auction house, nothing has changed and the award will remain up for sale. Bidders will be asked to make a deposit of $161,000 to participate in the June 6 auction.

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