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Will the "Hand of God" Grace a New Miami Condo?

Watch that hand!

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On June 22, 1986, before the days of instant replay, in a quarter-final World Cup match-up between England and Argentina in Mexico City, Diego Maradona had the game of his life. He scored two goals, securing Argentina’s 2-1 victory, and while the second came to be called “the goal of the century,” it was the first goal of the match that went down in history.

It became known as the “Hand of God” goal (Mano de Dios): Six minutes into the second half, with no goals scored, Maradona was deep in England’s penalty box when he caught a ball that had been mis-kicked by English defender Steve Hodge – with his fist, and scored. No one realized it was a handball, and the goal – infamously – stood. Maradona denied a handball until many years later; at the time he credited “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”).

The “goal” transformed what may have been a tie into an Argentine victory – and the team went on to win the Cup. So don’t be surprised if there aren’t any British takers for the new Tivoli condo/office project on 39th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, which will feature eighteen offices, 72 residential villas, and, in the middle, Diego Maradona Piazza, including a statue of the international football star.

Miami real estate broker Linette Guerra denied reports in the British press that the statue will depict Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal, saying the pose had not yet been determined. Reached on her cell phone while shopping at Tamiami Furniture late Thursday with longtime friend and ex-wife of Maradona, Claudia Villafane, Guerra said she was inspired to make Maradona the development’s centerpiece after traveling with him and Villafane recently in Russia, watching the Davis Cup.

“The developer wanted an international figure to represent the project,” said the 36-year-old broker. “When I saw how people reacted to him, I thought he would be the ideal person.”

In an article headlined “Miami blessed by Hand of God,” the British publication Metro UK cited “plans to build a statue depicting Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal” and said “England football fans visiting Florida this summer might want to avoid Miami Beach” (sic).

Units between 1300 and 4000 square feet will sell for $700K to $2.3 million. Guerra, who told New Times the building is about 50 percent sold and will break ground this fall, said that while Maradona was “famous for that pose,” no rendering yet existed for Piazza Maradona’s centerpiece. “It will be some kind of statue.” Guerra said the condo/office project had been launched in Argentina and Europe, but England was not on the developer’s promotional tour. --Frank Houston

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