Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo feels unable to celebrate his fourth Ballon d’Or award as much as his previous triumphs due to recent allegations of tax evasion.
The European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) media consortium reported in early December that Ronaldo, and several other clients of football agency Gestifute, had used tax havens to handle tens of millions of euros in earnings.
Ronaldo played a key role for club and country in 2016, helping Real Madrid to their 11th Champions League triumph and captaining Portugal to the European Championships, their first major tournament success.
Speaking to French magazine France Football, the organisers of the Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo admitted that the recent allegations had cast a cloud over his success.
“Of course it (allegations) has spoiled it a little bit. I would be lying if I said it hadn’t. I’m not a hypocrite,
“I wasn’t pleased. The whole process in itself is hard and not only for me, but also for the people alongside me: my family, my son, all those who work with me.
“All that irritates me because I try to do things correctly, be transparent.”
In their denial, Gestifute stated that Ronaldo, who moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009, is compliant with his tax obligations in Spain.
‘You know everything about me’
Ronaldo expressed his frustration that people feel he has something to hide when every detail about his life is out on the open for anyone to see.
“You just have to type ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ on the Internet and you know everything about me,” the Portugal captain said. “I don’t have any reason to lie.
“What came out troubles me. Because it’s not true. The lie is troubling. I have done things correctly.
“There are a lot of innocent people in prison. And I feel a little bit like that. You know you have done nothing wrong, and they say you have done something reprehensible. No one likes that.
“But the truth always comes out. Sooner or later.”
Ronaldo, who previously won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013 and 2014, is currently with Real Madrid in Japan preparing for Thursday’s Club World Cup semi-final against Mexican side Club America.