Maradona welcomed 'home' by Napoli fans for anniversary

NAPLES: Even 30 years later, Diego Maradona remains revered in Naples.

When he walked on stage at Naples' opera house on Monday, he was greeted by a roar of applause and cheers from the audience. It was as if he was back playing at San Paolo Stadium across town.

The Argentine great was the guest of honor at an event to celebrate Napoli's first Serie A title 30 years ago.

"I feel at home here, as I've always felt," Maradona told the San Carlo theater crowd of 1,300 spectators, some of whom paid up to 330 euros ($350) for tickets.

"Some people have complained because the tickets cost 300 euros but we did that because when Pele organizes a show they sell tickets for 200 euros. And he's got to always come second," Maradona joked.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed that Maradona has a job offer once he settles his decades-long feud with Italy's tax collection agency.

"I'm thinking of a position as Napoli ambassador in the world," De Laurentiis said, according to the ANSA news agency.

Maradona got emotional when he talked about his parents.

"I wish my mother could see me now," he said, then added: "I want to tell kids: Don't take drugs. Don't shoot."

Maradona left Napoli in 1992 after testing positive for cocaine use.

He led Napoli to its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990, along with the 1987 Italian Cup and the 1989 UEFA Cup.

Maradona concluded the show by addressing his once-neglected son, who was in the audience.

"After 30 years, I'm asking to be excused by son, Diego. I'll never leave you again," Maradona said.