June 15 (UPI) — Cristiano Ronaldo has reached a deal with Spanish tax authorities that includes a prison sentence and $21.8 million in fines in relation to tax evasion charges.
El Mundo and the BBC reported that Ronaldo is unlikely to serve any jail time. Spanish law stipulates that a two-year sentence for a first offense can be served on probation.
He was accused of attempting to hide earnings in relation to his image rights between 2011 and 2014.
Ronaldo, 33, was set to take the field with Portugal for its World Cup opener against Spain at 2 p.m. Friday at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner offered to pay more than $16 million in 2017, but government authorities rejected the offer, according to the BBC.
Argentina and FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi received a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges. Messi was found guilty of defrauding Spain of about $4.7 million between 2007 and 2009. He converted the sentence into nearly $300,000 in fines.
Ronaldo’s deal must be signed by the director of the tax agency. The Real Madrid star made $108 million in 2018 in salary and winnings, according to Forbes. He ranked No. 3 on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes, trailing only Floyd Mayweather and Messi.