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Ronaldo’s day in court

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Ronaldo says he wants to leave Spain but he must first appear in court on tax charges. AFP

MADRID (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s woes deepened last night when the star striker who reportedly wants to quit Real Madrid was summoned to appear before a judge investigating tax fraud.
 
Ronaldo, 32, said to have vowed that he would never play for Real Madrid again, was ordered to appear in a Madrid court on July 31 to answer four counts of tax evasion of $16.5m.
 
Spain’s Budget Minister urged media to respect the presumption of innocence regarding the four-time world player of the year.
 
“What is very important for me is to insist that no one is a criminal if he is not convicted,” said Montoro.
 
“That is why we must apply the principle of presumption of innocence in all areas.”
 
Unhappy Ronaldo has left his future at the Spanish giants in doubt after angrily announcing last week that his “conscience is clear.”
 
Spanish tax authorities are also targeting Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manager who was on Tuesday accused of evading 3.3 million euro ($3.7 million) in tax during his stay at Real Madrid.
 
Montoro said, however, that sports stars must be “exemplary” and “particularly scrupulous in the fulfilment of their tax obligations” because their actions “radiate over the whole society, for example on youth, children”.
 
Ronaldo is said to be unsettled at Real Madrid because he believes the European champions did not back him as fully as he had hoped in his tax dispute. 
 
He has also complained on multiple occasions in the past about Real supporters, who have resorted at times to jeering and booing his performance on the pitch.
 
However club president Florentino Perez disclosed that no offers had been received by Real to tempt Ronaldo away and the club was determined to keep him.
 
“Ronaldo is a Real player and will continue to be so as far as we are concerned,” Perez told Marca sports daily Tuesday. “No offer has been received for him.”  
 
In an earlier report Marca said Ronaldo has told his teammates he was leaving and “there is no turning back”.
 
However, Perez said he had not spoken to Ronaldo, who is on duty for Portugal at the Confederations Cup in Russia, which ends on July 2.
 
He also confirmed that Ronaldo’s contract was ring-fenced by a one billion euro release clause.
 
“I have not spoken with him. We don’t want to disturb his concentration with the national team,” said Perez.
 
“But something really bizarre would have to happen if he were to leave the club.”

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