Serie A - Maradona to sue Italy for £40 million
Diego Maradona is to sue the Italian government for £40 million despite owing the country £32m in unpaid taxes.
Maradona, who was a superstar for Napoli in the 80s and 90s, was hoping to clear his tax bill with the authorities so that he could return and visit the country without being pestered and offered to pay £2.8m to settle matters.
However, Italy’s tax collection agency Equitalia in Naples remains resolute that the Argentine legend pay the full amount.
An Equitalia spokesman said: "We are not in the habit of offering deals and we have turned the offer from Maradona down. The case will continue through the legal system."
However, Maradona's legal team have now launched a counter claim for £40m which they say is for "mortification and harm suffered to his image, dignity and quality of life".
Last week, Maradona, who currently coaches in the United Arab Emirates, slammed Equitalia and said they were partly to blame for a recent spate of suicides in Italy related to debt problems.
"No-one more than me knows what this is like - I too have been persecuted for 25 years," he said.
"I express my solidarity and closeness to those people who are victims of Equitalia. Instead of persecuting people these institutions should be protecting honest citizens.
"For 25 years I was alone, abandoned and persecuted. I was considered guilty without even being tried by judges. I have been treated like a criminal and my human dignity and sporting image has been violated.
"I had the strength to resist but I can understand those that cannot cope, I know what it feels like inside. I want to win this battle, above all for the victims of Equitalia."
In 2006 Italian authorities confiscated two Rolex watches and a set of diamond earrings from the manager when he landed in the country to put towards the unpaid tax bill.