Mon, Jun 19, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Zidane pleads with Ronaldo after shock

‘I QUIT’:A Spanish sports newspaper has reported that Cristiano Ronaldo told his teammates he would quit Real Madrid over investigations into his offshore accounts

AFP, MADRID

Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball on Saturday during a training session with Real Madrid at the Kazan Arena in Russia.

Photo: AP

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane broke off his holiday to call Cristiano Ronaldo in a bid to persuade his unsettled star not to quit the club, Spanish sports daily Marca said yesterday.

Ronaldo, on Confederations Cup duty in Russia with Portugal, is reportedly furious over a tax probe into the offshore accounts dealing with his image rights, and has reportedly vowed to leave Spain.

“I am leaving Real Madrid,” Marca said Ronaldo told his Portuguese colleagues.

“I have made a decision. There is no turning back,” the daily sports paper reported.

According to Marca, when Zidane heard Ronaldo had sworn to quit he broke off from his family holiday and called his No. 7 to tell him Real “needed him for his goals and also his winning mentality.”

Marca also reported that club captain Sergio Ramos had called Ronaldo to ask him to stay.

In just 265 games for Real Ronaldo has scored 285 goals, winning three Champions League finals in four seasons.

The 32-year-old Ronaldo is the latest soccer superstar to come under scrutiny for tax evasion after Lionel Messi was handed a 2.1 million euros (US$2.4 million at the current exchange rate) fine last year for avoiding paying taxes on part of the income he earned from image rights via companies in Belize, England, Switzerland and Uruguay.

Ronaldo is accused of defrauding the authorities of 14.7 million euros in tax through offshore companies.

Soccer players rely on expert go-betweens like big banks to help them manage their finances and the European Commission is looking into measures that would dissuade intermediaries from assisting wealthy individuals in avoiding tax.

On top of their mammoth salaries and victory bonuses, the world’s leading soccer players earn millions by loaning their name and image for advertising campaigns — be it sports equipment, underwear or yogurt.

Jorge Mendes, who is one of the most influential personalities in soccer, is also Ronaldo’s agent.

If the Real star “is finally put under formal investigation, the judge will also have to ask how guilty the advisers and agents are,” said Carlos Cruzado, head of the Gestha union of civil servants who work for Spanish tax authorities.

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