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Maradona appeals to EU over Italian tax bill

Italy's tax department accuse the Argentine legend of owing €39 million in unpaid taxes, a charge Maradona insists is completely unfounded.

The authorities claim the mammoth tax bill was built up during Maradona's memorable stint with Napoli between 1984 and 1991.

During that period, Maradona guided Napoli to their only two Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup.

"It's important that people know the truth. I really don't have to hide anything," Maradona told reporters on Friday.

"I don't even have €40m to give to the taxman because it's really difficult to earn more than that in a lifetime to be honest, let alone after tax."

Maradona's lawyer, Angelo Pisani, added: "Diego is innocent because he has never been found guilty of tax fraud. If the authorities suspect wrongdoing, it's up to them to show the proof."

A more comfortable subject for the Argentine World Cup winner is the struggles of his former team Napoli.

Maradona is revered in Naples, where he remains the club's all-time leading scorer with 115 goals ahead of Attila Sallustro (108), Edinson Cavani (104) and Antonio Vojak (103).

Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus last season and are 13 points off the pace in 2014 but Maradona believes the club can reach the summit of the Serie A with more investment in the squad.

"Napoli are a team that can achieve winning the league but they are always missing something to get there," he said.

"I believe that they should have a bigger squad because nowadays you have to play on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and even Friday sometimes.

"That's why I think that Napoli should spend a bit more and get a bigger squad so that I am sure they will be able to be competitive in every tournament."