Saturday 18 January 2020

'Outraged' Ronaldo demands exit from Real over tax probe

Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Reuters
Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Reuters

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is "outraged" at what he feels is unfair treatment by Spanish tax authorities and is determined to quit the club and the country.

The 32-year-old feels he is being singled out for disproportionate treatment after prosecutors accused him of defrauding the authorities of €14.7million.

A source claims the "outraged" Portugal international "feels great indignation" with all the speculation about his tax affairs and a sense of "injustice" at the allegations - which he contests - and has made a decision to leave Spain.

Earlier this week Ronaldo's agency Gestifute released a statement which said: "'There is no tax evasion scheme ... There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything."

On Thursday Ronaldo, who only signed a new five-year contract in November, posted a picture of him with his fingers to his lips on Instagram with the caption: "Sometimes the best answer it's to be quiet."

Scoring for Real Madrid in the recent Champions League final win over Juventus.
Scoring for Real Madrid in the recent Champions League final win over Juventus.

The potential availability of the Portugal international, one of the most marketable players in the world, would alert a number of top clubs, plus big-spending Chinese Super League sides looking to make a statement.

However, his Real contract is understood to have a €1bn buy-out clause and, in May, Forbes calculated his pre-tax salary as being close to €50m a year.

Ronaldo has helped Real win the Champions League three times, scoring twice in last month's final as they became the first club to retain the title and he only the second player to score in three different finals. He is also the competition's record goalscorer with 105.

He has also won two LaLiga titles with the club he joined from Manchester United for £80m in 2009.

Arch-rival Lionel Messi took a similar stance in threatening to quit Spain in 2014, also claiming he had been singled out for special treatment, when he was accused of concealing 4.1m euros (£3.5m) from the authorities.

The Argentina was found guilty and subsequently lost an appeal against a 21-month prison sentence - under Spanish law sentences under two years are usually suspended - and a €2.1m fine.

Inevitably, Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Manchester United - a club he has never hidden his affection for since departing in 2009.

In April, he revealed his new Nike football boots had been inspired by his six years at the club, adding of his time at Old Trafford: "It was the beginning of my success in football. It was probably one of the most beautiful moments in my career so far."

He also holds Alex Ferguson, who was a father figure to Ronaldo after he arrived at United at the age of 18, in continued high esteem.

There is interest also from French side Paris St Germain and Chinese Super League clubs who are reportedly willing to offer the Portuguese up to €1m-a-week.

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