Prolific goal scorer and Real Madrid star, Cristiano Ronaldo has been found guilty of evading tax by a court in Spain which attracts a sentence of two years.
The Real Madrid forward has reached a deal with Spanish tax authorities to serve two years in prison and pay an 18.8 million euro ($21.8 million) fine in a tax evasion case, newspaper El Mundo reported on Friday.
Luckily for the star, he is unlikely to actually serve any jail time under the deal because Spanish law states that a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.
The 33-year-old Portuguese footballer is accused of evading 14.7 million euros in taxes and, through his agents, has denied the allegations.
Gestifute, the agency representing the player, was not immediately available to comment on the report on Friday. The Spanish tax agency also declined to comment.
Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.
Between 2005 and 2010, foreign players in Spain were protected under the so-called “Beckham law” allowing them to curb their taxes. But as the financial crisis bit deeper, that exemption was lifted, paving the way for the cases.
Yesterday, at the Russia 2018 world cup match between Spain and Portugal, Ronaldo performed excellently (as usual), scoring a late free-kick to complete a remarkable hat-trick in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain.
The goal marked Ronaldo’s 51st career hat-trick and also the 51st hat-trick in World Cup history.
But that was not the only piece of history Ronaldo made on a remarkable night in Sochi, Russia.
His first goal saw him become just the fourth man in history to score goals at four different World Cup finals.
The spot-kick also saw Ronaldo become the first man in international history to score goals in eight consecutive major tournaments.
The 33-year-old has now scored 84 goals in 151 international appearances for Portugal.