Wed, Jun 21, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Real boss is ‘not contemplating’ Ronaldo leaving

Reuters, BARCELONA, Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo has not spoken to Real Madrid officials about a transfer away from Spain and he is not expected to leave the European champions during the summer, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Monday.

The prolific striker scored twice to fire Real to a 4-1 win over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final earlier this month, but his future at the club was thrown into doubt last week when Portuguese newspaper A Bola reported that he wanted to leave Spain after being accused of tax fraud.

Spanish prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against the player accusing him of defrauding tax authorities of 14.7 million euros (US$16.4 million) by hiding his image rights income between 2011 and 2014. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.

The 32-year-old signed a new contract with Real until 2021 in November last year and has a release clause of 1 billion euros.

“I haven’t spoken with Cristiano, I learned about it because of what came out in the newspapers. I don’t have any solution, but Cristiano, like everyone else, has a contract and is a Real Madrid player,” Perez told radio station Onda Cero after earning a third consecutive mandate at Real. “I’m sure he will speak to us about what has happened [with the tax case], which has obviously affected his credibility, and we’ll see what happens.”

Ronaldo, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer, is the latest in a long line of players in Spain — among them Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Neymar — to be caught up in cases over tax or transfers.

Ronaldo is with Portugal at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia and has not said anything about his future since the A Bola story was published.

Asked about potential clubs Ronaldo could join, Perez said: “I’m not contemplating Ronaldo leaving.”

Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 for a then-world record fee of 96 million euros and is their all-time top scorer with 404 goals in 394 games. He has won three Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles and two Copa del Reys in his eight years in the Spanish capital.

“I haven’t learned very much about the situation, he’s at a very important tournament at the moment in the Confederations Cup and until that ends I’m not going to disturb the atmosphere of his team,” Perez said. “He has a contract and he needs to complete it. All we know is that he’s unhappy with the treatment he has had from the press, who have claimed that he is a tax cheat.”

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