One-time Liverpool and Everton target released from German prison after 28 days

Bayer Leverkusen

Diego Placente, once of Bayer Leverkusen and Bordeaux, has been released from Cologne prison after an arrest for tax evasion.

Argentine left-back Diego Placente was certainly one of the more talented in his position playing European football ten years ago. Part of the successful Bayer Leverkusen side that knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League on their way to a memorable Ibrox finale v Real Madrid he was certainly a talent.

He has played for his country on 22 occasions and In his time been a Ligue 1 winner with Bordeaux and won the FIFA World Youth Championship with Argentina in 1997.

Throughout his career he almost made his way to the Premier League on two separate occasions - with Merseyside the destination both times.

When his contract expired in Leverkusen at the end of the 2004-05 season he decided he would leave. Everton were in the mix with his agent even saying:

"Diego appreciates the interest of Roma, but if an offer from Everton arrived we could not ignore it. With all respect for Roma, Everton will play in the Champions League next season."

In the end however he went to Celta Vigo, who incidentally were not playing Champions League football.

And while at Celta he almost made the move to Liverpool - with Rafa Benitez seeing him as a cost effective option to solve his left-side issues. In the end Benitez managed to snap up Brazilian Fabio Aurelio from Valencia instead so Placente went on to remain with Celta.

From their his career went journeyman - with stints at San Lorenzo, Bordeaux, Nacional and Argentinos Juniors.

While not retired, he is currently a free agent - and recently went through some of the more dramatic times of his career, and indeed life.

This week saw Placente released from prison after serving 28 days of a prison sentence for tax offences.

He arrived back in Germany from Argentina on the 15th November to play in a Legends Game against a Lothar Matthaus XI - but was arrested at Frankfurt airport and transferred to Cologne to serve his sentence.

He was never officially charged with anything, but considered flight risk was detained indefinitely while enquiries were carried out.

In the end his lawyers proved that he had not evaded any international tax on €6 million of personal image rights and wages earned in Germany.

He however holds no grudges after the incident:

"I hold no grudge against Germany. I am grateful for the support of Bayer Leverkusen and especially Rudi Völler . I must say that all prison staff and fellow prisoners-have treated me well. I had a single cell with a toilet and sink. Once I even participated in a football game. I'm glad I was released without conditions ..."

He has now returned to Argentina where he will hope to finish out his career with one last team.

image: © eveos

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