Diego Maradona determined to clear name over £32m tax bill
Hundreds of supporters greeted the 52-year-old on his arrival at
Naples airport yesterda
Tuesday 26 February 2013
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.
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."
Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries
Latest in Sport
Fernando Alonso leaves Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel confirmed as Alonso's replacement for 2015 season
Sami Khedira: Arsenal and Chelsea target signs pre-contract with Bayern Munich - reports
Daniel Sturridge injury latest: Brendan Rodgers ready to buy a striker as setback rocks Liverpool
Amir Khan exclusive: 'Manny Pacquiao has been beaten in his last few fights, beating Floyd Mayweather would be massive'
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet
- 1 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 2 Pirelli calendar 2015: The problem with 'plus-size' models like Candice Huffine
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
G20 summit: Enter Putin. Accompanied by four warships. To the sound of mockery
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
David Cameron 'compares Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany' ahead of tense meeting
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine