Miffed with the accusations of a €14.7 million tax evasion through offshore companies, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo could leave the Spanish club, reported BBC.
“He feels he’s honest, has good character and did everything OK, so he doesn’t understand,” the report quoted a source as saying. “He’s very sad and really upset.”
Ronaldo joined Real from Manchester United in 2009 for a then-world record £80 million and signed a new five-year deal with the Spanish giants in November 2016. Over the last couple of seasons, speculations have been persistent that he could eventually make a return to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo had earlier reacted to accusations by saying that remaining silent was the “best answer”.
“Sometimes the best answer it’s to be quiet,” the Real Madrid forward said on Instagram with a photo of himself in a Portugal polo shirt and right forefinger raised to his lips.
Ronaldo insisted Wednesday that he had a “conscience clear, always”, as he arrived at Lisbon airport to fly out to the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Real Madrid have given their backing to Ronaldo, saying they had “full confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted in accordance with the legality regarding the fulfillment of his fiscal obligations”.
The 32-year-old Ronaldo – the world’s highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine – follows in the footsteps of Barcelona forward and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year, although the sums involved were allegedly smaller.
If he too is put on trial and found guilty, he risks “a fine of at least €28 million” and could potentially be jailed for three-and-a-half years, according to the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue.
Ronaldo is the latest football star to fall foul of Spanish tax authorities. Three weeks ago, Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi were found guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on €4.16 million earned from the Argentine’s image rights from 2007-’09.
Both Messi and his father were handed with a 21-month jail sentence by the Supreme Court in Spain. Reports have stated that it is likely to be suspended as is common in the Iberian country for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.
With inputs from AFP