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Maradona's lawyers face court action

Diego Maradona's lawyers may be sued by Italy's tax collection agency after their claim that the former Argentina star has won his 20-year battle over tax debts.

Maradona's lawyer Angelo Pisani said his client won the long-running dispute and "can now return to Italy as a free man''.

However, the collection agency - the Agenzia delle Entrate - issued a statement on Friday saying it had not "annulled, declared extinct, nor modified'' Maradona's debts, and that "to the contrary'' it had rejected a request from the ex-Barcelona man. The agency added it will evaluate whether or not there are grounds to sue for damages.

Maradona's Italian debts of nearly €40 million date back to the period when he played for Napoli from 1984-91 and he allegedly failed to pay his taxes.

Tax police have previously confiscated two Rolex watches and a diamond earring from Maradona when he visited Italy in the past. Plans for a match in Naples to celebrate Maradona's 50th birthday in 2010 had to be abandoned due to threats from tax authorities.

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