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Feb 26, 2013

Maradona returns to Naples for tax case

Diego Maradona has returned to Italy for the first time in eight years to clear his name in a tax evasion case the Italian authorities say is worth more than $50 million.

• Rewind to 1987

The Argentine legend's debts stem from what the authorities say were unpaid taxes between 1984 and 1991 when he played for Napoli, leading the club to its only two Serie A titles in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

Maradona was convicted in 2005 and ordered to pay $48 million but on February 1, 2013, his lawyer, Angelo Pisani, claimed the Italian authorities had cleared the debt allowing his client to return to Italy. The tax authorities, however, denied that claim.

The 52-year-old has spoken previously of his hurt at not being able to walk the streets of Naples. He said: "I am not a tax fraudster and I am not afraid of returning to Italy. The people who are really responsible are free and can walk around freely in Naples and I can't. That is not fair."

Maradona, who has just become a father for the third time, landed on Monday at 13.25 local time in Rome and was greeted by a mob of fans chanting his name to welcome him back to the country. He is due to speak at a news conference to explain his tax situation later on Tuesday.

Maradona will also be in attendance for Napoli's crucial Serie A match against league leaders Juventus on Friday.