Ron­aldo says his ‘bril­liance’ both­ers peo­ple

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Real Madrid for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo said on Tues­day his “bril­liance” an­noys peo­ple, a day af­ter he was quizzed by a Span­ish judge in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether he evaded pay­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in taxes.

“What both­ers peo­ple is my bril­liance; in­sects only at­tack lamps that shine!” the Por­tuguese wrote in an In­sta­gram mes­sage that re­ceived over a mil­lion likes within an hour of be­ing posted.

Ron­aldo spent over 90 min­utes on Mon­day an­swer­ing the ques­tions of in­ves­ti­gat­ing judge Mon­ica Gomez at a closed-door hearing in Pozuelo de Alar­con, the wealthy sub­urb of Madrid where he lives.

Pros­e­cu­tors ac­cuse the four-time world player of the year of hav­ing evaded $17.3 mil­lion in tax.

Ron­aldo, 32, has de­nied any wrong­do­ing. He told the judge he has al­ways filed his tax re­turns and “never had the in­ten­tion of evad­ing taxes”, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from his rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Span­ish daily El Mundo said the player — the world’s high­est paid ath­lete ac­cord­ing to Forbes mag­a­zine — im­plied dur­ing his court hearing that he was only be­ing in­ves­ti­gated be­cause of who he is.

“I am only here be­cause my name hap­pens to be Cris­tiano Ron­aldo,” the player told the judge, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

Ron­aldo had been ex­pected to speak to the throng of re­porters gath­ered out­side of the court af­ter the hearing but in­stead his spokesman, Inaki Tor­res, emerged from the build­ing to an­nounce the player “was on his way home”,

prompt­ing jeers from the me­dia.

Por­tuguese tele­vi­sion SIC re­ported that Ron­aldo aborted the ap­pear­ance at the podium set up out­side the court be­cause the hearing had gone badly, with many mo­ments of “ten­sion” between him and the judge.

Ron­aldo is not the only soc­cer player to fall foul of au­thor­i­ties in Spain.

His archri­val, Barcelona for­ward Lionel Messi, was found guilty of tax eva­sion last year.

Other play­ers have also re­cently run into trou­ble with Spain’s tax­man, some of them al­ready con­victed and oth­ers un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo

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