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Spain: Ronaldo appears in court to face tax fraud charges01:26

Spain: Ronaldo appears in court to face tax fraud charges

Spain, Madrid
July 31, 2017 at 14:56 GMT -00:00 · Published

Real Madrid and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in a Madrid court ahead of a tax evasion trial which carries a potential three-and-a-half year jail sentence, Monday.

Despite hundreds of fans and journalists gathering outside the courthouse in Pozuelo de Alarcon, in Madrid's suburbs where Ronaldo resides, the striker failed to appear, instead entering via an underground garage to avoid the cameras, prompting boos from the awaiting media.

Ronaldo, 32, stands accused of evading €14.7m ($17.3m; £13.1m) in tax, beginning in 2010.

If found guilty, the Portuguese would reportedly also face a fine of at least €28m.

Real Madrid's all-time top scorer is the latest in a string of high profile footballers to have fallen foul of Spanish tax authorities, alongside his arch footballing rival Argentine captain Lionel Messi.

Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail term, which under Spanish law can be avoided by paying a fine. However the figure touted for the Barcelona star was closer to €5m, three times smaller than Ronaldo's purported fraud.

Ronaldo is reportedly the world's highest paid athlete, taking home around $93m in the 2016-17 season and also stands accused of declaring only €11.5 million to the Spanish authorities from 2011-2014, while the Portugal captain actually earned over €43 million during this period according to prosecutors.

Spain: Ronaldo appears in court to face tax fraud charges01:26
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Real Madrid and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in a Madrid court ahead of a tax evasion trial which carries a potential three-and-a-half year jail sentence, Monday.

Despite hundreds of fans and journalists gathering outside the courthouse in Pozuelo de Alarcon, in Madrid's suburbs where Ronaldo resides, the striker failed to appear, instead entering via an underground garage to avoid the cameras, prompting boos from the awaiting media.

Ronaldo, 32, stands accused of evading €14.7m ($17.3m; £13.1m) in tax, beginning in 2010.

If found guilty, the Portuguese would reportedly also face a fine of at least €28m.

Real Madrid's all-time top scorer is the latest in a string of high profile footballers to have fallen foul of Spanish tax authorities, alongside his arch footballing rival Argentine captain Lionel Messi.

Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail term, which under Spanish law can be avoided by paying a fine. However the figure touted for the Barcelona star was closer to €5m, three times smaller than Ronaldo's purported fraud.

Ronaldo is reportedly the world's highest paid athlete, taking home around $93m in the 2016-17 season and also stands accused of declaring only €11.5 million to the Spanish authorities from 2011-2014, while the Portugal captain actually earned over €43 million during this period according to prosecutors.

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