Maradona in Naples for hearing

Diego Maradona has returned to Naples to plead his innocence over an outstanding 40million euro (£32 million) tax bill issued to him by the Italian justice system.

Last Updated: 26/02/13 at 14:30 Post Comment

Diego Maradona: Dispute over tax bill

Diego Maradona: Dispute over tax bill

The former Argentina and Napoli striker expressed his desire to avoid persecution in the southern Italian city, where he is held in high esteem by fans of the Serie A club with whom he won two league titles in 1987 and 1990.

Hundreds of supporters greeted the 52-year-old on his arrival at Naples airport yesterday but he declined to speak to the press about claims he owes the Italian state millions of euros in unpaid taxes until today's press conference.

Quoted in the Gazzetta dello Sport, Maradona said: "I want to tell everyone that I have Napoli in my very soul. I've wanted to say so for a long time but there are people who would not let me do so."

The 1986 World Cup-winner blames senior figures at the club at the time for the situation he now finds himself.

"Everyone who drafted my contract (at Napoli) is free today. I was out on the training field at the time but now when I come to Italy the financial authorities want to take my earrings from me," he said.

"Why do I have to pay and not them, when I gave my life to Napoli? I am not a victim because I have earned a lot of money but I didn't know anything about the contractual issues.

"I am facing up to the situation because I have not killed anyone."

Maradona was ordered to pay 37.2m euros (£32m) in unpaid taxes in 2005. His lawyer Angelo Pisani subsequently declared the debt had been cleared but Italy's tax authorities are still demanding he pay up.

Maradona is determined to clear his name so he can return to Italy in the future with his family.

He added: "I want to come back to Italy with my grandson to watch Napoli. I want him to see what his grandfather did here and not be remembered as a tax-dodger, which I am not.

"I want to believe that justice exists and I want to ask that justice system to let me walk freely in Italy and in Naples.

"I want to represent the people but an Argentinian cannot resolve the problems of the Italian people. I hope that all the people who, like me, are involved in this kind of problem come out of it well."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

N

ow is the time for Allardyce to finally get a chance at a big club please. He is likely to have a number of great offers for his services this summer, but who will he choose? Will it be Liverpool, Real Madrid, Dortmund or Man City?

medina_sod
Allardyce leaves West Ham

I

thought exactly this when the Match of the Day pundits were peddling this line. Is it really not okay for fans of a club to have some ambition these days then?

damoceltic
Bored Of Big Sam? It's Your Right...

H

ow magnanimous off him - to leave if he's asked to by the owners? What's the alternative, bunker down in his office claiming squatter's rights if FSG want rid?

feed the bear
Rodgers: I'll go if owners want

Footer 365

Ian Baraclough was delighted Motherwell's game plan worked at Ibrox

Ian Baraclough says Motherwell's game plan worked perfectly as they won 3-1 at Rangers in the Premiership play-off final

Stuart McCall disappointed by slack Rangers in Motherwell defeat

Stuart McCall says Rangers gave their poorest performance under him as they lost their play-off tie against Motherwell

Chris Coleman hopeful Wales will not lost points from Israel win

Wales manager Chris Coleman fears his side would be badly affected if they lose points from their European Qualifier against Israel.

Mail Box

What Is It That FIFA Actually Do?

That's the question raised timidly by someone sat at the back of the room, whilst others remind that UEFA aren't perfect either. Plus a few more gone on to better XIs...

Time To Step Up, Mr Platini...

UEFA should step up and extend the Euros to replace FIFA's tarnished World Cup, say a couple of mailboxers. Also: all hail Carlo, King of the Kop, and plenty more Budget XIs...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company