Ronaldo courting return to England
MADRID — Cristiano Ronaldo told a Spanish court he “would like to return to England” due to his tax troubles in Spain, Spanish radio station Cadena Ser reported on Saturday.
The Real Madrid star was called to testify in court last Monday over accusations he evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in tax on his image rights via a complicated web of shell companies based in the British Virgin Islands and Ireland.
However, Ronaldo has insisted he did not create a “special structure” to manage his image rights when he moved to Real in 2009 but simply maintained the one set up in 2004 while he was at Manchester United.
That structure had been recommended to the Portuguese captain by United via its specialist sports lawyer Chris Farnell.
“Chris told me it was what all the footballers did and I didn’t want to be an exception,” Ronaldo added in court.
“On the field I always want to be an exception, but off it I want to be like everyone else.”
If Ronaldo is found guilty he faces a fine of at least 28 million euros ($33 million) and potentially a three-and-a-halfyear jail term, according to the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue.
However, despite being just the latest in a series of high- profile players to be investigated over their image rights in recent years, Ronaldo believes he is being targeted due to his fame.
“If I wasn’t called Cristiano Ronaldo I wouldn’t be here,” the 32-year-old also reportedly told the court.
The four-time World Player of the Year posted a message on social-media site Instagram on Tuesday which read: “What bothers people is my brilliance, insects only attack lamps that shine!!!!”
Ronaldo returned to training with his Madrid teammates on the weekend for the first time since lifting the Champions League trophy in June.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane had given Ronaldo an extended break due to his participation in the Confederations Cup with Portugal and his court appearance.
Throngs of media gather outside the courthouse where Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was testifying on tax-fraud charges in Pozuelo de Alarcon, Madrid last week.