Diego Maradona was mobbed by fans and journalists as he returned to Naples this week to answer questions over a built up tax bill of around 40 million euros.
Argentina’s 1986 world cup winner used a press conference on Tuesday to also brush off rumours of a possible return to Serie A club Napoli as coach.
“I repeat: I came in Italy neither to see Aurelio De Laurentiis (Napoli chairman) nor to see Naples’ mayor. I came to say that I am innocent. But I’m not thinking about the Naples bench (as a possible coach), because it would be too disrespectful of Walter Mazzarri (the current coach).”
Italian tax authorities claim the 52-year-old owes them 40 million euros of which 36 million is interest built up since 1984, when he joined Napoli.
During a couple of rare visits back to Italy in the last decade authorities seized goods from the former player, including diamond earrings and Rolex watches, to help pay off the bill.
Considered among the greatest ever football players, Maradona is still Napoli’s all-time top scorer and is considered a hero in the city and worshiped by the fans for leading the club to the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990.
He also steered Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and captained the team in the following edition, when they lost to West Germany in the final in Italy.