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BBC Sport's Martin Fookes
"Reports say he was clearly upset"
 real 14k

Friday, 12 January, 2001, 23:37 GMT
Maradona: Napoli should pay tax bill
Diego Maradona is surrounded by Italian tax police
Diego Maradona is surrounded by Italian tax police
Argentinian legend Diego Maradona said his former club Napoli should settle an alleged tax bill of around 16.6m.

Maradona was stopped by police as he arrived at Rome airport on Thursday, and told they are investigating unpaid taxes of some $25m.

"It is always the same story when I come back to Italy," Maradona told Radio Mitre, although he also managed to joke.


I've spoken to my lawyers who have told me Napoli has to pay this amount
  Diego Maradona

"I have not got the money on me at the moment. I am fine and I do want to reassure my mother, my daughters and the people of Argentina.

"Of course people are trying to make this into a big deal but it is all just a storm in a teacup," he added.

Maradona lived up to his playboy reputation by partying all night and sleeping all day at his Rome hotel.

When he finally turned up over an hour late for a news conference he looked tired, talked in a rambling way and claimed that it was up to his former club, Napoli, to pay his back taxes.

Controversy

And he expressed bitterness about former Napoli president Corrado Ferlaino, now a club executive, over the tax issue.

"Ferlaino has betrayed me again," he said.

"He told me the club would have resolved this. I've spoken to my lawyers who have told me Napoli has to pay this amount."

He also complained about television coverage in Argentina of his arrival here in Rome.

"I had to phone my family in Argentina to reassure them I had not been shot," he said.

The 40-year-old, who almost single-handedly inspired Argentina to the 1986 World Cup trophy, has been embroiled in controversy throughout his career.

He arrived from Cuba, where he'd been recuperating from the drug problems which blighted the later stages of his career.

Dundee match

The Argentinian, who last year recovered from severe heart problems, was in Italy to promote a series of commemorative medals for his 40th birthday.

For a couple of weeks there has been speculation among soccer fans that Maradona would return to Naples for a job with his old club, possibly as a consultant.

Meanwhile, Scottish Premier League club Dundee hope to include the star in a money-spinning friendly at Dens Park.

Caniggia vow

A deal would fulfil a promise former team-mate Claudio Caniggia made when he joined the Tayside outfit earlier this season.

Caniggia vowed to bring his close friend and fellow countryman Maradona to the club when he arrived in October.

Maradona said: "Claudio told me they make good whisky there but I haven't signed anything."

Maradona could pocket 250,000 for the appearance, Dundee midfielder Giorgi Nemsadze has suggested.

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See also:

11 Jan 01 |  Dundee
Maradona set for date at Dens
11 Jan 01 |  Dundee
What direction for Diego?
08 Jan 01 |  Dundee
Dundee make Maradona move
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