Arguably one of the greatest footballers of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo has arguably won everything there is in the world of football. From winning a record five Ballon d'Ors to winning the Euro title with Portugal, Ronaldo continues to prove that he's a cut above the rest. But, while his exploits on the football pitch has earned him the status of a demigod, his antics off it has also made him a subject of immense criticism.
From his tax fraud case in Spain to the recent rape allegations from a woman in the United States, the Portuguese legacy in the sport has surely been dented. While the rape allegations levelled against him are still pending an inquiry, Ronaldo has now settled the long-standing tax evasion case.
The 33-year-old was accused of avoiding paying taxes in Spain between 2010 and 2014, during his stint with Real Madrid. The case against him in the Spanish court was centred around lucrative image rights deals. The prosecutors had claimed that the proceeds were funnelled through low-tax companies in foreign nations to evade taxes.
The allegations had first emerged in 2017 when the prosecutors had claimed that it was a "voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain". But, Ronaldo's lawyers clarified that it was all down to a misunderstanding over what was and was not required under Spanish law, and denied any deliberate attempt by the football superstar to evade tax.
In a bid to settle the case, a deal was struck in June last year which was supposed to be agreed with Spain's tax authorities. On 22nd January, Ronaldo was asked to appear in the Spanish court to resolve the case. In a court appearance that lasted for a few minutes, Ronaldo accepted the deal offered by prosecutors before walking out with his wife Georgina Rodriguez, smiling and giving a thumbs-up while signing autographs.
According to the deal, Ronaldo will pay a fine of 16.6 million pounds. But, more importantly, Ronaldo, who was earlier facing some prison time, will no longer serve the pre-decided 23-month jail sentence. In Spain, convicts do not usually do time for sentences under two years. And, since, the nature of Ronaldo's offence was non-violent, the Juventus forward seems to have escaped the jail sentence, serving it on probation instead.
So, for a man who has been listed by Forbes as the third-wealthiest athlete in the world, with estimated earnings of 108 million dollars a year, the 16.6-million-pound fine seems like peanuts for Ronaldo. Thus, there was no surprise to see football fans across the globe slamming Ronaldo and Spanish tax authorities for the same.
The rich get way with as they pay large fines.
He should have gone in jail as poorer people would have done.
why isn't he made to pay back what he owed?!— Jordy (@garyetchells) January 22, 2019
So? Rapists are free and happy, and I don't see the moralists talking about it.— Bel Inojosa (@BelCiel) January 22, 2019
You'd think they were going to a Royal wedding by that photo.— Robson (@ROBSON_THE_RED) January 22, 2019
Proof that money can buy happiness— ThirdEye (@ItsGillaGilla) January 22, 2019
Never seen anyone happier to leave a court room. ð³ pic.twitter.com/uAWTVUo7TW— s u l e i m a n ð (@SuleimanAFC) January 22, 2019
Amazing how you can buy anything with money...— steve phillips (@superbladestee) January 22, 2019
I'd be happy too , cuz that's pocket change for him... he will make it back in a few months from his sponsors , and I wouldn't be surprised if Juventus actually pays for it . That's actually possible— Tendai91 (@Tendai9111) January 22, 2019
Ahhh, what a world we live in where literally anyone that wasn't rich would have been sentenced to prison if they had done this.— James Watson (@JamesWa46455119) January 22, 2019
This would be only a tiny amount of money to him— Janette Hall86 (@JanetteHall) January 22, 2019
Easy when you're rich— krishan (@22kchauhan) January 22, 2019
meh, 2 months salary for him.— ( '| ) (@pedroleitao) January 22, 2019