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Maradona looking for Italy tax-evasion solution

Diego Maradona is hoping to find a solution to his tax debt problems in Italy so he can join the 25th anniversary celebrations of Napoli’s first Serie A title.

Maradona, then in his pomp, was the catalyst for the most successful period in Napoli’s history, winning the league title in 1987 and 1990. They had never won it before and have never done so since.

But Maradona owes the Naples taxman €37.2 million, of which €23.5 million is interest accrued on his original tax debt.

The former World Player of the Year told Sky TG24 that he wants to come to an agreement with the taxman so he can embrace his fans.

“I’m going to clear up the many misunderstandings, I want to embrace the Neapolitans,” said Maradona from his luxury residence in Dubai, where he is coach of Al-Wasl.

“It’s right to pay taxes but the taxman needs to be more humane with its citizens. I’ve never been a tax-evader, I paid all the taxes I was informed about.”

He also claimed a 1994 decision had shown him to be in the right and that he owed nothing more, but in 2005 he was ordered by the Italian Court of Cassation to pay the €37.2 million.

However, that decision is now under review due to procedural errors.

Maradona complains that he cannot even visit Italy due to the debt as he has previously been stripped of diamond earrings and expensive watches by police.

“They’ve prevented me from returning to Italy until now. I hope that justice exists and it’s the same for everyone,” added the man whose famous ‘Hand of God’ goal took Argentina past England and into the 1986 World Cup semi-finals.

“I’ve lost 20 years, all those years of love I gave on the pitch.”

Maradona is seen as a god in Naples by fans who have never forgotten his influence on the pitch.

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