Cristiano Ronaldo has been left seething by the accusation he has ‘defrauded’ €15million (£13m) from the Spanish taxman and has told Real Madrid he could leave Spain for good if he is convicted.
The A Bola front page on Friday says Ronaldo has declared his intentions and when he claimed his decision is ‘irreversible’, it did not take the Spanish club by surprise.
They had already been made aware of his fury earlier in the week when Madrid’s regional state prosecutor publicly accused him of failing to pay the correct amount of tax over a four-year period from 2011 to 2014.
In 2014, he made an extra payment of €6m (£5m) and now feels that the prosecution’s accusation is a result of a difference of interpretation of Spain’s complicated tax laws on image rights and should not therefore result in criminal proceedings.
A Madrid judge will decide over the next fortnight if the case goes to court and Ronaldo will have 30 days to decide if he is to plead guilty and pay a fine or fight the case and risk a stronger punishment.
Lionel Messi was given a 21-month suspended sentence last year for having defrauded the national purse of €4.1m (£3.6m) of undeclared image-rights earnings.
Sources close to Ronaldo say despite the millions he has earned during his career, he remains proud of his humble beginnings in Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, and fiercely defensive over the idea that now he does not pay his way or that his gains have been in any way ill-gotten.