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22nd Jan 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax charges, accepts suspended prison sentence

Simon Lloyd

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court in Madrid on Tuesday

Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed a deal with a court in Spain in relation to tax evasion charges relating to his time as a Real Madrid player.

The 33-year-old, now with Juventus, has accepted a fine of €18.8m (£16.6m) as part of the deal, which also includes a 23-month jail sentence.

He is, however, highly unlikely to face any time behind bars. Convicts in Spain rarely serve time for sentences under two years and the non-violent nature of his offence means he will probably serve it on probation.

Ronaldo appeared in the court in Madrid after the his requests to appear via video link was rejected by the judge. He was also denied the option of driving into the courthouse.

Ronaldo, who left Madrid after nine years at the Bernabeu in the summer,  was accused of avoiding paying tax to Spanish authorities between 2010 and 2014, with the case focusing on money received for his image rights deals. Prosecutors said that proceeds were funnelled through low-tax companies overseas to avoid paying the required level of tax.

The five-time Ballon d’Or had played for Juventus only hours prior to his court appearance, missing a penalty in the 3-0 win over Chievo in Turin.

Xabi Alonso, Ronaldo’s former teammate at Real Madrid, is also expected to appear in court later on Tuesday to face similar charges.