Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo fined $21M for tax fraud

Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo pled guilty to tax fraud, appearing in court in Spain on Tuesday.

Ronaldo, 33, was given a two-year suspended sentence and will not have to go to prison, but he will be fined nearly $21.6 million. The Juventus phenom was accused of using a shell company to hide income generated by his image rights over the course of about three years, during his days at Real Madrid. He was accused of four counts of tax fraud worth more than $16 million.

Ronaldo had previously reached a plea deal with prosecutors and tax authorities – Tuesday’s court appearance made it official.

Prosecutors wanted the soccer forward to serve 23 months in prison, but under Spanish law a first-time offender sentenced to less than 2 years can have the term suspended.

Ronaldo currently plays for Italian club Juventus, but played for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018. He is considered one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, ranked third in 2018 by Forbes, behind boxer Floyd Mayweather and fellow soccer player Lionel Messi.

Forbes estimates Ronaldo made at least $108 million last year, alone.


The soccer star has a lifetime contract with Nike worth an estimated $1 billion – the third lifetime deal ever for the sports apparel giant.

According to Time, Ronaldo’s legs are insured for $144 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.