Cristiano Ronaldo tax case is yet another parallel with Lionel Messi

Real Madrid superstar threatens to quit Spain after being accused of trying to defraud the taxman

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid
(Image credit: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty)

Parallels continue to grow between the careers of superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - although this time the similarity is that both men have now been accused of defrauding the Spanish taxman.

This week, Spanish prosecutors claimed Ronaldo owed the state €15m (£13.1m) over image rights, a year after Messi was given a 21-month suspended sentence for the same issue.

The Real Madrid player will find out by the end of the month if the case will go to court, when he will have 30 days to decide if he is prepared to pay a fine or dispute the charge and risk a heavier penalty.

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Ronaldo has reacted badly to the news and several newspapers in Spain and Portugal say he has "made the irreversible decision to leave Madrid after eight successful years at the club", reports ESPN.

The player is said to be "outraged" by the accusation and believes the authorities are "making an example of him".

He made his feeling clear on Instagram:

Ronaldo's fury "comes not so much from the investigation into his tax affairs as the way he feels he is being treated like a criminal despite the fact he voluntarily made attempts to put his affairs in order three years ago", reports the Daily Mail.

According to the paper, Ronaldo made an extra payment of €6m in 2014, a year after Messi first came under investigation. He also believes the case is down to a difference of interpretation of Spain's complicated tax laws on image rights and should not lead to criminal proceedings.

"Despite the millions he has earned during his career, he remains proud of his humble beginnings in Funchal, the capital of the island of the Portuguese island of Madeira, and fiercely defensive over the idea that now he does not pay his way or that his gains have been in anyway ill-gotten," adds the Mail.

Ronaldo signed a new five-year contract with Real Madrid in November, reports the Daily Telegraph, but is so incensed he now wants to walk away.

"Manchester United would be keen on bringing the 32-year-old back to the Premier League after their move for Antoine Griezmann collapsed earlier this summer," adds the paper. "United have taken the decision not to renew Zlatan Ibrahimovic's one-year contract and Ronaldo could become the club's number one transfer priority should he become available."

Whether Ronaldo leaves remains to be seen - but even here there are parallels with Messi. In 2016, The Sun reported the Barcelona star was so "furious" about his own tax case he was "considering leaving the country as a result".

However, Messi is still at the Camp Nou, although he has yet to sign an extension to his contract, which expires next season.

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