Cristiano Ronaldo, Spanish Authorities Reportedly Agree to Tax Fraud Plea Deal

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2018

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo walks out the Juventus medical center at the Alliance stadium in Turin on July 16, 2018 to greet supporters. - A Turin hit by Cristiano Ronaldo fever awaits the striker as Juventus prepare to unveil the surprise signing, that after the end of the World Cup, puts all eyes on the Italian champions and Serie A. (Photo by Isabella Bonotto / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ISABELLA BONOTTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed a deal with the Spanish tax authorities to plead guilty to tax fraud, resulting in a two-year suspended prison sentence, according to the Associated Press (h/t Sky Sports).

Ronaldo, who left Real Madrid to sign for Serie A giants Juventus earlier this summer, will also be expected to pay a fine of as much as €19 million (£16.9 million).

The deal still needs to be rubber-stamped before a plea is entered and payment made. Things are expected to be made official in days, per the report.

The charges against Ronaldo date back as far as 2011, with the prolific forward accused of fraudulent action totalling €14.7 million, per the report.

Ronaldo was accused of fraud in 2017.
Ronaldo was accused of fraud in 2017.Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

However, EFE (h/t Goal) detailed how said amount has become €5.7 million with the player's expected guilty plea. Additional fines and expenses make the fine tally to €19 million.

Specifically, "The prosecutor accused the Portugal forward of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights," per Sky Sports.

Ronaldo and the prosecutor's office came to a verbal agreement in June, after the Spanish government rejected the Portugal international's offer to pay a €14 million fine, per El Mundo (h/t BBC News).

Ronaldo initially denied the charges against him in July 2017, as his media representative Inaki Torres labelled the case "a difference of opinion" as opposed to an example of fraud, per Stephen Burgen of The Guardian.

Messi also received a fine following allegations of tax fraud.
Messi also received a fine following allegations of tax fraud.JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

He many no longer be in La Liga, but Ronaldo is the second of Spanish football's two marquee stars to accept punishment following accusations of tax fraud. His great contemporary and rival, Barcelona's Lionel Messi, had a 21-month prison term changed to a fine totalling €252,000.