MADRID: Representatives of Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo are close to an agreement with the Spanish authorities over his  tax evasion case writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The 33-year-old FIFA World Player of the Year , due to lead his own country against Spain tonight in the World Cup finals, has reportedly offered to accept a suspended two-year prison sentence to a fine of €18.8m over tax owed on his image rights between 2011 and 2014.

This would make Ronaldo the latest star player to fall foul of the Spanish Hacienda after the likes of Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso. In his case the sum claimed is €14.7m.

The Spanish tax office has yet to accept the proposal with the fine thought to be the outstanding issue.

Madrid prosecutors charged Ronaldo of taking illegal advantage of an offshore payments system created in 2010, the year after he transferred to Madrid from Manchester United.

He has been accused of four tax offences, one for each of the tax years concerned.

The company which handled Ronaldo’s image rights is Tollin Associates Ltd, based in the British Virgin Islands tax haven. That company granted the exploitation of the rights to another company based in Ireland, Multisports&Image Management Ltd.

This latter company allegedly managed and exploited the rights without the company in the Virgin Islands having any active involvement.

Future imperfect

Ronaldo has been the focus of speculation over his future since his comments in the immediate aftemath of Madrid’s victory over Liverpool in the Champions League Final in Kiev last month.

The Spanish media has claimed he has been disappointed at not receiving greater public and private support from the club over the tax issue.

He would not face any time in jail because he has no previous convictions, similar to the case involving Barcelona’s Messi who was fined €4.1m last year after being found guilty of tax fraud.