Cristiano Ronaldo appears in Spanish court over tax fraud

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. File

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared in court facing allegations of tax evasion running into millions of euros.

Prosecutors accuse Ronaldo in June of knowingly using an overseas "business structure" (or shell company) to hide income from his image rights from Spanish tax agencies between 2011 and 2014.

The 32-year-old entered the Pozuelo de Alarcon court in Madrid in a auto with tinted windows via an underground garage to avoid the glare of the dozens of cameras gathered outside.

The Portuguese star - the world's highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine - follows in the steps of his arch-rival, Barcelona forward and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offense past year.

The Barcelona star was given a 21-month jail sentence - although a court ruled he could pay a £225,000 fine to avoid serving time behind bars. Those who know me, know what I ask my advisors: to have everything up to date and properly paid, because I do not want problems.

Ronaldo, however, who is accused of evading more than three times the amount involving Messi, faces a real threat of prison and a hefty fine.

Ballon d'Or has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the better part of the decade and such has been their rivalry that the prestigious award is now considered one of the defining awards in a footballer's career.

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho also is accused of defrauding Spanish authorities to the tune of 3.3 million euros during 2011 and 2012, while coach of Real Madrid.

Although he paid to install a stage with lights and sound equipment to speak to the media outside the building afterwards, Ronaldo stayed silent and made a quick exit whit his lawyer speaking on his behalf.

Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared in court in Spain to face allegations that he evaded £13.1m in tax.

'They can not make up some commercial numbers that are bigger than Barcelona or Real Madrid'.

"I would be more anxious if Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi left".

Ronaldo has said that due to what he believes to be unfair treatment by the Spanish authorities he will lead the country. Under Spanish law, sentences of less than two years can be served on probation.

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