The Italian Almanac

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Diego Maradona

Italian News - June 8

Diego Maradona had some time on his hands near Naples on Tuesday until Italy's tax police took two Rolex watches from the Argentine soccer legend to chip away at his $30 million euro bill in unpaid income taxes.

"We were surprised he was wearing them because he knows that when he comes to Italy he risks losing something," said Tax Police Maj. Geremia Guercia, speaking by phone from the Naples suburb of Giugliano In Campania. Guercia said he went up to Maradona on Tuesday evening at the end of a news conference before a benefit appearance and asked him to come to the tax police station. Maradona was wearing a Rolex on each wrist, Guercia said.

"He was very polite, very gentle, very calm," Guercia said of Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title. "When he was leaving he was very nice about giving his autograph to those who asked." Together the watches are worth about $10,000 euros, Guercia said, but when they are auctioned off by the tax police, Maradona's name could fetch far more.

Maradona recorded the huge tax debt while playing for Naples in the 1980s in Italy's top league.