Madrid - Real Madrid launched a staunch defence of star
forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, demanding respect for the three-time
World Player of the Year amid allegations he hid millions of euros earned from
image rights in tax havens.
"In light of the information published in recent days
and the certificate released by the Spanish tax agency which shows our player
Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all his tax obligations, Real Madrid
demand the maximum respect for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, whose behaviour
has been exemplary during his entire time at our club," Madrid said in a
An international consortium of media organisations on Friday
claimed that a huge data leak involving 18 million documents showed the
Portuguese skipper hid $160 million from image rights in
the British Virgin Islands.
Ronaldo, 31, has strongly denied the claims in a statement
via Gestifute, the firm controlled by his agent Jorge Mendes.
"Cristiano Ronaldo has always acted in good faith in this
matter, as the fact that he has never been involved in any conflict with the
Tax Authorities from any country where he has lived clearly shows," read
the Gestifute statement.
Ronaldo is just one of a series of Madrid players to have
been accused by the "Football Leaks" investigation into corruption in
Spanish newspaper El Mundo accused Portuguese defenders Pepe
and Fabio Coentrao, also both clients of Mendes, of selling their image rights
to companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama respectively for just one
Pepe was reported to have earned 3.7 million euros in image
rights since signing for Madrid in 2007 and Coentrao 3.5 million since 2011.
"Given the information published in the media, I inform
that I am up to date with my tax obligations," Pepe said in a statement
released on his Instagram page on Tuesday.
"In previous years I voluntarily and anticipating any
requirement on behalf of the tax agency came forward to regulate my income from
image rights given the change of criteria used by the Spanish tax office."
Croatian midfielder Luka Modric was also accused by El Mundo
on Tuesday of diverting income derived from his image rights to a company
registered in Luxembourg.