Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports that football star Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted a suspended prison sentence and a fine of €18.8 million (approximately $21.8 million) to settle a tax fraud case in Spain.
The Real Madrid and Portugal icon, who will take on Spain in his country’s first World Cup 2018 tie later today, was accused by Spanish prosecutors of defrauding tax authorities of €14.7 million (approximately $17 million).
Ronaldo denied the accusation when the Spanish prosecutor’s office filed its lawsuit against him in June last year. Now, El Mundo’s report states that he has reached a settlement with the authorities. Ronaldo will avoid time in prison, however, as Spanish law states that short sentences are served under probation for first offenses.
Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi — the other giant of the modern game — reached a similar settlement with the Spanish authorities alongside his father in 2016.
Away from this case, both Spain and Portugal have suffered off-the-field calamity in the last week. Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked just 24 hours before the World Cup started, while a meltdown at Sporting Lisbon has caused an unwelcome distraction in the Portugal camp.
In other news, Louis Vuitton’s 2018 FIFA World Cup collection is available now.