03/11/2012 11:17 EDT | Updated 05/11/2012 05:12 EDT

Maradona wants to meet with Italian tax authorities so he can visit Naples again

ROME - Diego Maradona wants to clear things up with Italian tax authorities so he can visit his old friends in Naples again.

"I want to return immediately to Naples and speak with the authorities," Maradona wrote in Naples' Il Mattino newspaper Sunday. "I'm not a tax evader and I want to show it."

Maradona's Italian debts of nearly €40 million (about $50 million) stem from alleged unpaid taxes during the time he played for Napoli from 1984-91, when he helped the club win its only two Serie A titles.

In previous visits to Italy in recent years, tax police have confiscated two Rolex watches and a diamond earring from Maradona.

In 2010, plans for a match in Naples celebrating Maradona's 50th birthday had to be abandoned due to threats from tax authorities.

"I want to return to Italy and embrace the Neapolitans and all my friends who live in Italy," Maradona added in an interview with Italy's Sky TV.

"It's right to pay taxes but the authorities should be more humane with citizens," the Argentina great added. "I always paid all the taxes that I knew about."

Maradona's appeal coincides with a six-match winning streak for Napoli, which takes a 3-1 first-leg lead to Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.