Cristiano Ronaldo faces tax probe over image rights

They further stated that Ronaldo has shown a clear resolve to fulfil all his tax obligations.

When faced by a flurry of questions by journalists on Wednesday, Ronaldo replied: "Clear conscience, always".

The Gestifute management company, which is owned by Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, released a statement on 13 June denying that Ronaldo had concealed his income from Spanish authorities.

Cristiano Ronaldo's representatives have strongly denied an accusation that the Real Madrid forward concealed earnings and defrauded the Spanish tax authorities out of €14.7million.

On this occasion he is accused of knowingly using a "business structure" to hide income made from his image rights.

It remains to be seen if Ronaldo will face a prolonged legal battle like his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi, whom the Portuguese is alleged to have evaded three times more tax than.

Cristiano stands accused of failing to pay millions of euros in tax between the period of 2011 and 2014. The prosecutor said Ronaldo had used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to hide the true amount of income made from image rights, among other means of illegally reducing the amount of taxes he paid.

Real Madrid have declined to comment the report, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo said this is an "injustice".

Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona, and his father Jorge were convicted of tax fraud in Spain previous year (16) and handed 21-month jail sentences.

Messi had a 21-month jail sentence handed down, although he's never served any jail time.

He earned $93m from salary, bonuses and endorsements a year ago.

Ronaldo, 32, a four-time Ballon d'Or victor, is not the first high-profile footballer to find himself the target of legal action by the Spanish tax authorities. He led Real Madrid to the Spanish league championship this year and to a successful defense of their Champions League title.

Vanessa Coleman

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