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‘Ronaldo ‘delighted’ to be staying at Madrid’

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring during extra-time of the Club World Cup football final match between Kashima Antlers of Japan and Real Madrid of Spain at Yokohama International stadium in Yokohama on December 18, 2016. Behrouz MEHRI / AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo, hounded by allegations of tax evasion in Spain, is “delighted” to be staying at Real Madrid, according to club president Florentino Perez, who called claims that the Portuguese striker might leave the country exaggerated.

“As he said a little while back, he’s delighted to be here. No one is better placed than him to say that,” Perez told Cadena Ser radio.

Ronaldo strongly denied having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.5 million) in tax on his image rights when he appeared in court in a preliminary hearing on July 31.

Prosecutors accuse the Real Madrid star of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.

In addition, they say Ronaldo only declared 11.5 million euros of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43 million euros.

They also accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4 million euros in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.

The four-time World Player of the Year, 32, has been heavily critical of the probe into him, leading to rumours that he might seek to quit Spain.

“I don’t know what happened this summer,” Perez said. “A Bola (newspaper) published a story, on what a teammate might have said (about Ronaldo leaving)… In the end, there was nothing.

“As there was not much to talk about this summer, they exaggerated,” Perez said, conceding however that “Cristiano was angry about this tax problem, having been summoned, that’s not nice for anyone.”

Perez added that there was nothing in the case against Ronaldo “that would constitute a crime”.

“He’s hidden nothing and if there’s no hiding, there’s no crime,” he said.

“It’s possible there’s a different interpretation (between Ronaldo’s advisers and tax authorities) and he’s cool and collected on this issue.”



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