Argentine great Diego Maradona, still venerated in Italy as a sporting saint for leading Napoli to two league titles, wants to make peace with the country's tax authorities.
"I have never been a tax evader. I have always paid all the taxes I was aware of," Maradona, 51, told Sky TG24 television from Dubai, where he is coach of United Arab Emirates side Al Wasl.
Italian tax authorities say Maradona owes some 38 million euros in unpaid taxes, according to media reports.
"I want to return to find peace with the tax man and with Italians. My desire is to return to Italy and embrace Neapolitans and all my friends who live in Italy. They made me lose 20 years, so many years of love [for Italians]," he said.
The report said Maradona, who led Napoli to Serie A title in 1987 and 1990, is seeking a deal to clear up his position.
"It is right to pay taxes but the tax authorities have to be human with the citizens," he said.
After quitting football in the 1990s, he battled drug addiction, obesity and alcohol abuse.
In January he underwent surgery in Dubai to have kidney stones removed.