Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who has played for Spanish club Real Madrid since 2009, now reportedly wants to leave the organization. Sources close to the Portuguese striker are saying that Ronaldo is unhappy with the tax situation in Spain, recently being accused of tax fraud himself. Ronaldo is accused of defrauding over 14 million euros in taxes, a charge that Ronaldo has assured he is innocent of.
I personally don’t understand why soccer players are always being caught committing tax fraud. Lionel Messi and his father were both sentenced to 21 years in prison for three counts of tax fraud last year (which they are both obviously not going to serve), Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez was also charged with tax evasion last year from his time spent in Spain while playing for Barcelona, and other players like Xabi Alonso and Neymar have been linked to potential cases of tax fraud. While I’m not an expert on the tax situation in Spain, I am able to understand that these players make a RIDICULOUS amount of money. These caliber players are some of the highest paid athletes in all of professional sports, and almost all of them have hefty endorsement and shoe deals. All the while, they still blatantly fail to report MILLIONS of dollars in income taxes and end up getting charged with tax fraud. I guess since none of them end up serving any jail time it might be worth it, but if you are an organization like Real Madrid or Barcelona, you either gotta be really pissed at these players or perhaps at the Spanish government (probably both). It is going to be interesting to see if Ronaldo actually does leave, and if so where his next destination will be. At 32, he still has plenty of years with solid ability and skill left in him, so it is unlikely that he will head to the MLS for a team that plays in a state with little or no income tax. Still, Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid is going to greatly shift the world soccer landscape, and him being moved because of potential tax problems might bring the tax situation in soccer into the open as well.