Football great Diego Maradona has won a 30-year battle over tax evasion charges in Italy and will soon return to Naples, the scene of some of his greatest sporting triumphs, his lawyer said on Friday.
Lawyer Angelo Pisani said his client was cleared of a tax bill of almost 40 million euros (£34.2 million), of which 36 million was interest built up since 1984, when Maradona joined Serie A club Napoli.
"There is a sentence from the central commission... that confirms the annulment of the fiscal scrutiny against Maradona," Pisani told Italian television.
"Diego Maradona can return to Italy a free man. He is free from every debt because he was never a tax evader. He said he will return to Naples to say hello to the city, the Neapolitans and hopefully the football too."
Considered among the greatest football players ever, Maradona is still Napoli's all-time top scorer and is considered a hero for leading the club to the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990.
He also led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and captained the team in the 1990 tournament, when they lost to West Germany in the final in Italy.
When Maradona visited Naples in 2006, he was mobbed by supporters but financial police stripped him of two Rolex watches worth 10,000 euros each to help pay off the bill.
Pisani said Napoli and the club's former duo Alemao and Careca of Brazil were also cleared of scrutiny over their tax affairs.
Italy's tax authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Photograph: Jumana El Heloueh/Reuters