MOSCOW: Cristiano Ronaldo is preparing to make his Confederations Cup debut here against Mexico in Moscow on Sunday under a shadow from the fall-out of tax evasion charges being levelled against him in Spain.
Reports from Portugal suggest the 32-year-old feels he is being singled out for disproportionate treatment after prosecutors accused him of defrauding the authorities of €14.7m.
It was being claimed in media in Lisbon that the “outraged” Portugal captain “feels great indignation” with all the speculation about his tax affairs and a sense of “injustice” at the allegations – which he contests – and has made a decision to leave Spain.
Earlier this week Ronaldo’s agency Gestifute released a statement which said: “There is no tax evasion scheme … There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything.”
Real Madrid believe that the dust will settle in due course after his successes in helping them win the Champions League three times, scoring twice in last month’s final as they became the first club to retain the title and he only the second player to score in three different finals. He is also the competition’s record goalscorer with 105.
Ronaldo has also won two LaLiga titles with the club he joined from Manchester United for £80m in 2009.
Arch-rival Lionel Messi took, only briefly, a similar stance in threatening to quit Spain in 2014, also claiming he had been singled out for special treatment, when he was accused of concealing €4.1m from the authorities.
The Argentina was found guilty and subsequently lost an appeal against a 21-month prison sentence – under Spanish law sentences under two years are usually suspended – and a €2.1m fine.