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Saturday, 24 November, 2001, 03:50 GMT
Maradona's massive tax bill
Maradona and his wife in Cuba
Maradona is being treated for drug addiction in Cuba
Italy's authorities have ordered Diego Maradona to pay 51bn lira ($23.1m) in unpaid taxes and interest dating from his five years playing football for Napoli in the 1980s.

A tax commission in Naples rejected an appeal by the retired football star.

His lawyers said they would appeal to a higher court.

Maradona breaks down at his farewell game
Maradona: "Player of the century"

Hailed by many as one of the world's greatest ever players, Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986 and led Napoli to their only Italian league titles in 1987 and 1990.

He currently lives in Cuba, where he is undergoing a rehabilitation programme for drug addiction at the invitation of President Fidel Castro.

When he was first arrested on the tax charges in January, he said that Napoli should pay the bill.

Drugs ban

Earlier this month, Maradona played in an emotional farewell match in Buenos Aires.

Last year, he received the Fifa player of the century award at a ceremony in Rome.

His career went into decline in 1991 when he was suspended for 15 months following a positive test for cocaine while playing for Napoli.

He was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the United States after failing a drug test for ephedrine and was later banned for 15 months.

Last year, police said that he had once again tested positive for cocaine.

See also:

11 Nov 01 | Football
Maradona's farewell
10 Nov 01 | Football
Maradona bows out with tribute game
09 Nov 01 | Football
Chip off the old block
09 Sep 01 | Eng Prem
Maradona looks to England
20 Aug 01 | Football
Diego's drugs regret
18 Jan 00 | Americas
Maradona seeks treatment in Cuba
05 Jan 00 | Americas
The fall of Maradona
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