Monday's soccer: Ronaldo to kick in $21.6M to settle case

Associated Press


Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo will make an unwanted trip back to Madrid today and is expected to plead guilty to tax fraud.

Ronaldo will be in the Spanish capital on tax charges related to his time at Real Madrid.

The Juventus forward is expected to appear before a judge and receive a suspended two-year sentence as part of a deal struck with Spain’s state prosecutor and tax authorities last year. The agreement will cost him nearly 19 million euros ($21.6 million) in fines.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

In 2017, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.7 million). Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

After being questioned for nearly 90 minutes in a Madrid court at the time, the Portuguese player told a judge he never tried to avoid taxes.

The accusations didn’t involve his salary from Real Madrid, his club from 2009 until joining Italian champion Juventus last year.

Ronaldo’s presence in court is not expected to last long. Officials said he declined an option to address the court via video conference.

The court on Monday dismissed Ronaldo’s request to enter the building directly from the parking lot, which would have allowed the player to avoid the media. The request was made for security reasons, but the court said it didn’t think the measure was needed despite the player’s notoriety.

Separately, Ronaldo is facing a rape allegation in the United States.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in September claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.

Several other soccer figures have been subjected to investigations from tax authorities in Spain in recent years, including Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinho, Javier Mascherano, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Alexis Sanchez, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Fabio Coentrao.

Asian Cup

Title contenders Japan and Australia scraped through tough last-16 games at the Asian Cup, joined by the host team United Arab Emirates.

Japan advanced to the uarterfinals by beating Saudi Arabia 1-0, while defending champion Australia needed penalties to get past Uzbekistan.

Free kicks

Ashley Cole is back in English football after reuniting with former England and Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard at Derby. The 38-year-old Cole will be playing under Lampard, who is in his first season as a manager trying to get Derby promoted to the Premier League.

... Struggling English Premier League club Huddersfield turned to Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team to find another manager, hiring Jan Siewert to succeed David Wagner.

... Sven Mislintat, Arsenal’s head of recruitment, is leaving the Premier League club after barely a year in the job.

... Barcelona has signed Kevin-Prince Boateng on loan from Italian club Sassuolo until the end of the season.