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Cristiano Ronaldo upset over tax fraud charge, wants to leave Real Madrid

Earlier this week, Spanish prosecutors in Madrid filed a lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo, accusing the Portuguese striker defrauded the Spanish government of roughly $16 million in unpaid taxes from 2011-2014.

Cristiano Ronaldo denied the allegations, his management company Gestifute claimed, “it is clear that the football player did not try to evade taxes.”

In December, as part of a massive dump by European soccer transparency website Football Leaks, the anonymous tipsters released documents said to reveal Ronaldo concealing money in off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

This new batch of allegations claims that Ronaldo was “knowingly using a ‘business structure’ to hide income made from his image rights,” according to the BBC.

While these allegations sent ripples through the soccer world, this morning reports emerged in Portugal that Ronaldo now wants to leave Real Madrid, something that would shake the entire makeup of European soccer.

According to the BBC, a source close to the player claims Ronaldo feels so upset about the allegations that he will seek to leave Spain,

“He’s very sad and really upset… He doesn’t want to stay in Spain. At this moment, he wants to leave.”

The summer transfer window in Europe is often full of ridiculous rumors from made up sources. Between fake Twitter accounts or tabloids of varying degrees of reputation, entire stories can gain steam with literally zero basis behind them.

With regards to the Ronaldo situation, at first, Portuguese outlet A Bola, which is not the most reliable publication, was reporting Ronaldo’s discontent, but it was mostly discredited.

But now, Record, the most prominent sports publication in Portugal, backs up the claims of Ronaldo’s discontent.

Jan Hagen, a soccer journalist specializing in the Portuguese league and players, broke down the revelations of Friday morning on his Twitter.

It would appear that Ronaldo has made up his mind and wants to leave immediately.

Basically, this seems like a legitimate rumor. It’s not as if Ronaldo is trying to get a new contract, or is upset about playing time (the usual reasons for leaking a story like this) the tax revelations seem to be rather serious, at least in the way that they’re affecting Ronaldo.

But after leaving Manchester United in the summer of 2009 for a then world record fee of $132 million, where could Ronaldo possibly go next?

As the most well-paid soccer player in the world, raking in a reported $93 million last year of salary and endorsements, what teams could even afford Ronaldo?

There’s options in the Premier League, perhaps a return to Manchester United is on the cards? Manchester City and Chelsea could probably afford Ronaldo’s wages and the fee, but are unlikely to want to shell out that kind of exorbitant money on a 32-year-old, regardless of who it is.

Paris Saint Germain is another option, with virtually unlimited money and the attraction of living in Paris, but it’s hard to imagine Ronaldo in the less competitive Ligue 1 in France.

Perhaps Ronaldo could leave Europe altogether, with a potential move to China or MLS, but Ronaldo is still an elite player and this doesn’t seem like the right time for a move that would realistically be the first step towards retirement.

I suppose time will tell, it’s hard to believe that Ronaldo would leave Real Madrid right now, after winning the Champions League and La Liga this year.

Perhaps this is all just reactionary and Ronaldo will get over the allegations, or perhaps this reveals the seriousness of the allegations themselves.

Regardless, this will surely be the saga of the summer, at least until Ronaldo calls bullshit and expresses a desire to stay in Madrid. If Ronaldo moves this summer it could set in motion a domino effect of players moving as Real Madrid aren’t simply going to let the most productive player in their history leave the club without adequately replacing him.

The BBC claims that Ronaldo has a £874.88 million release clause, so any team can pay that to Real Madrid and just have him! It would be great to see Cristiano Ronaldo stateside as soon as possible.