Diego Maradona set for Napoli role if tax millions settled, says club president

Diego Maradona could become global ambassador of Italian club if he settles his long-standing dues, says Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona, left, talks to Fiorentina's soccer team former striker Giancarlo Antognoni during the Italian football hall of Fame Award ceremony in Florence, Italy, Tuesday.(AP)
Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona, left, talks to Fiorentina's soccer team former striker Giancarlo Antognoni during the Italian football hall of Fame Award ceremony in Florence, Italy, Tuesday.(AP)
Updated on Jan 17, 2017 11:50 PM IST
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New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Diego Maradona could be offered the role of a global ambassador if the legend settles his tax with the Italian authorities, said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Maradona was served with a tax bill of around 39 million euros (33 million Pounds) four years ago when he returned to Italy, where he led Napoli to their two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.

From left, Former Inter Milan defender Giuseppe Bergomi, Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona, former Juventus striker Paolo Rossi, Brazilian soccer star Paulo Roberto Falco and Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri hold their Italian football hall of Fame Awards during a ceremony in Florence, Italy, Tuesday. (AP)
From left, Former Inter Milan defender Giuseppe Bergomi, Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona, former Juventus striker Paolo Rossi, Brazilian soccer star Paulo Roberto Falco and Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri hold their Italian football hall of Fame Awards during a ceremony in Florence, Italy, Tuesday. (AP)

For me, Maradona is a legend... as soon as he resolves his issues over outstanding taxes, he will become our global ambassador,” De Laurentiis said Monday evening.

Diego Maradona had spent seven years at Napoli after leaving Barcelona in 1984. Maradona had also won the 1987 Coppa Italia and the 1989 Uefa Cup with Napoli.

Maradona however has denied he owes the tax authorities anything.

During an interview with Corriere della Sera last October, Maradona said, “I don’t owe them anything. The penalty, even though it was unfair, was paid by Napoli in 2003.”

Maradona was in Napoli on Monday to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of their maiden Serie A title. “I am really happy to be here with you,” Maradona told hundreds of fans on Monday.

Holding up his Napoli shirt to fans, Maradona claimed he rejected an offer by then Barcelona vice-president Joan Gaspart to remain with the Catalan giants. “This shirt allowed me to dream,” he said.

“When I signed for Napoli, Gaspart wanted me to stay, he offered to double my salary. I told him no, that I wanted to follow my heart. Napoli is beautiful and unique, but they need to win another two league titles to become an even bigger club.”

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