Maradona ends Italian exile

Diego Maradona on Monday ended his controversial exile from Italy, where he famously led Napoli to their sole titles in the Serie A football championship.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Wed 27 Feb 2013, 12:13 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:34 AM

The Argentine World Cup winner had rarely stepped foot in Italy since leaving under a cloud in the 1990s amid claims of collusion with mafia dons and a positive drugs test for cocaine.

It was later claimed by the Italian authorities that Maradona owed the state millions of euros (dollars, pounds) in unpaid taxes.

The former footballer arrived shortly after 1:00pm (1200 GMT) local time at Rome’s Fiumicino airport wearing a black jacket, black suit and dark glasses.

Dozens of fans had turned up to see the Argentinian, many of whom shouted “Welcome back!” as he was driven away. One fan in particular wearing Juventus colours caught Maradona’s attention.

“When we used to play against Juventus, we were always scared,” Maradona is reported to have jokingly said to the fan while shaking his hand. Maradona is set to watch his former club in Udinese on Monday and will then give a news conference on Tuesday, at which he is expected to speak about the tax issue.

Maradona was convicted in 2005 and ordered to pay 37.2 million euros ($50.4 million), including 23.5 million euros in interest for late payments.

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