Deal struck with authorities
Ronaldo agrees £16m fine after admitting tax fraud
Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted tax evasion during his time at Real Madrid (pic: SNS Group)
Five times European footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to pay a £16.5 million fine after admitting tax fraud while playing for Real Madrid.
The 33-year-old struck a deal with Spanish prosecutors and tax authorities in return for a 23-month suspended prison sentence handed down at a court hearing in Madrid.
As a first offender, under Spanish law Ronaldo will not have to serve any time behind bars as the prison term is less than two years.
The Portuguese international, who currently plays for Juventus in Italy’s Serie A, spent nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu from 2009-2018.
He had been accused of defrauding the authorities of €14.8m (£12.9m) in unpaid taxes between 2011 and 2014. Despite the enormous fine, his spending power won’t be affected, with Forbes reporting he earned €108m in 2018.
Ronaldo is not the first high-profile footballer snared by the tax authorities. Also in court in Madrid was his former Real team-mate Xabi Alonso. The ex-Liverpool star is charged with similar offences amounting to about €2m, with prosecutors seeking a five-year prison sentence. Alonso maintains his innocence and his hearing was suspended shortly after it started.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was found guilty of a €4.1m tax fraud during a two-year period between 2007 and 2009. The Argentinian agreed to pay a €250,000 fine in exchange for a 21-month suspended jail sentence.
The recent focus on football stars comes after the removal of a tax exemption in 2010 which was referred to as the “Beckham Law” and had allowed footballers to curb their taxes.
Cardiff City player on board missing aircraft
English Premiership side Cardiff City are said to be “very concerned” by reports their record signing Emiliano Sala was a passenger on board a light aircraft which disappeared over the English Channel.
The 28-year-old Argentine agreed a £15 million move from French club Nantes at the weekend and was back in France yesterday saying farewell to his former team-mates.
The plane was flying from Nantes to Cardiff when it disappeared off radar after losing contact with air traffic control around 8:20pm last night.
French authorities have confirmed the striker was on board the flight and Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said: “We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night.
“We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further. We are very concerned for the safety of Emiliano Sala.”
Guernsey Police say there is still “no trace of the aircraft” after searching more than 1,000 square miles of the Channel near the aircraft’s last location.