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Diego Maradona has accused his ex-wife Claudia Villafane of stealing nearly $9 million from his bank accounts.

The 54-year-old Argentine soccer legend said during a live TV show on Canal America that Claudia Villafane, his childhood sweetheart, was “a thief”.Diego Maradona accuses Claudia Villafane of theft

“If she did what we fear she did, unfortunately she will have to go to jail,” Diego Maradona said.

Claudia Villafane denies any wrongdoing.

Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane met in a poor neighborhood of Buenos Aires before he rose to fame.

Their two daughters – Dalma and Giannina – posted messages on Twitter supporting Claudia Villafane.

Diego Maradona led Argentina to the World Cup victory in 1986, and is regarded by soccer fans and experts as one of the greatest players of all time.

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Luis Suarez has received support from World Cup winner Diego Maradona, while his biting victim, Giorgio Chiellini, branded the ban “excessive”.

The Uruguayan is not allowed to train with his club or enter a football stadium yet Spanish side Barcelona remains interested in signing the player from Liverpool.

For their part, Liverpool are seeking legal advice after being denied the services of last season’s leading Premier League scorer until the end of October.

Meanwhile, online gambling firm 888poker says it has terminated its relationship with Suarez with immediate effect.

Suarez, who flew back to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in the early hours of Friday morning, denied the allegations following his clash with Giorgio Chiellini, claiming the centre-back had bumped into him.

However, FIFA decided he was guilty and gave him the longest ban in World Cup history.

Luis Suarez has received support from World Cup winner Diego Maradona

Luis Suarez has received support from World Cup winner Diego Maradona (photo Telesur)

Luis Suarez also received a nine-match international suspension and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs.

Writing on his personal website, Giorgio Chiellini, 29, said: “I have always considered unequivocal the disciplinary interventions by the competent bodies but, at the same time, I believe that the proposed formula is excessive.

“Now inside me there’s no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that’s done. There only remains the anger and the disappointment about the match.

“At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period.”

Former Argentina captain and coach Diego Maradona declared his support for Luis Suarez on his television show De Zurda on Thursday night.

“The FIFA sanction is shameful, they have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo,” said Diego Maradona, who was wearing a T-shirt bearing the message, “Luis, we are with you”.

“It hurts that they have cut short the career of a lad who is a winner. It’s an excessive suspension, FIFA cannot talk about morals to anyone.

“Suarez didn’t kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia.”

Diego Maradona interviewed Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica during the program, broadcast on Telesur TV.

“We Uruguayans are full of anger, those coming from below do not understand anything,” said Jose Mujica.

“We kicked out Italy and England, no doubt they lost a lot of money.”

Jose Mujica claimed FIFA used “a different standard” to judge certain countries.

“That’s what hurts and angers us the most,” he added.

Uruguay will play Colombia in the last 16 on Saturday after qualifying from Group D behind Costa Rica.

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The Italian Football Federation has announced they will play Argentina in a friendly match to honor the soccer-loving Argentinean Pope Francis.

The match will be held August 14 in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

Pope Francis will watch the match not far away from the Vatican with audiences from both sides, according to the Associated Press.

It’s a long-awaited announcement for Italian manager Cesare Prandelli.  The 55-year-old stated outwardly back in March that he would be ecstatic over a matchup of these two countries for the pope.

The Italian Football Federation has announced they will play Argentina in a friendly match to honor the soccer-loving Argentinean Pope Francis

The Italian Football Federation has announced they will play Argentina in a friendly match to honor the soccer-loving Argentinean Pope Francis

“We’ve played friendlies with all the best national teams, only Argentina is missing,” Cesare Prandelli said back on March 27 following a World Cup qualifier with Malta.

“If we could arrange it, it would be nice to have an audience with the pope, who comes from Buenos Aires and loves football, and then go all together with both squads on one bus to the stadium. I couldn’t dream of anything better.”

The matchup has plenty of meaning for the religious Cesare Prandelli.  He brought his whole coaching staff out on a trio of half-hour long nighttime trips to a Polish monastery during the European championships last year.

It’s been a while since these two sides met.  Their last meeting was in 2001, also a friendly where Argentina came out on top 2-1.  Prior to that, Argentina knocked out Italy in the semifinals of the 1990 World Cup on penalties, led by Diego Maradona.

Members of the Venezuelan opposition have made an official complaint against the government following allegations that it broke the law by continuing its electoral campaign on state television.

Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro appeared on TV visiting the tomb of Hugo Chavez on the eve of the election.

The opposition candidate Henrique Capriles said his opponent was “violating all the electoral norms”.

On Saturday, he launched an internet channel to broadcast his own campaign.

Despite this, Henrique Capriles said he had been “respecting the electoral rules, but those in power don’t know anything other than the abuse of power”.

Almost 19 million Venezuelans will have the right to vote on Sunday for a successor to Hugo Chavez.

Henrique Capriles has made an official complaint against Venezuela’s Acting President Nicolas Maduro for breaking the electoral law

Henrique Capriles has made an official complaint against Venezuela’s Acting President Nicolas Maduro for breaking the electoral law

Voting will be electronic – one machine will identify voters’ fingerprints, and a second will recognize identity card numbers and register the vote anonymously.

Polls will open at 06:30 local time and close 10 hours later, although they will stay open until all those queuing at closing time have voted.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez died on March 5, after a two-year long battle against an undisclosed type of cancer, prompting a short electoral campaign period before Sunday’s elections.

The winner is due to be sworn in on April 19 and serve until January 2019, to complete the six-year term that Hugo Chavez would have begun in January.

Hugo Chavez’s handpicked candidate Nicolas Maduro is seen as the front-runner, but recent polls said the gap between him and his rival, Henrique Capriles, was narrowing.

Both sides staged massive rallies to mark the official end of their campaigns on Thursday.

But since 2002, Hugo Chavez’ supporters have staged celebrations on April 13, the date when the late leader returned to power after a brief coup in 2002.

Venezuelan state television showed Nicolas Maduro visiting the tomb of the late leader, accompanied by the Argentine football star Diego Maradona, who also took part in Maduro’s final rally on Thursday.

“Let’s honor his [Hugo Chavez’s] memory, his legacy,” Nicolas Maduro told Venezuelans in a speech at the tomb.

An interview with the acting president about the short-lived 2002 coup was also broadcast.

On Friday, members of the opposition campaign said they had lodged an official complaint with the Electoral Commission.

Henrique Capriles also complained on Twitter, saying VTV was “shamelessly breaking the electoral rules”.

For his part, Nicolas Maduro said on the micro-blogging site that there was an alleged “dirty war” being plotted against him from Colombia’s capital, Bogota.

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