Perez says he hasn't spoken to Ronaldo about rumors of exit

  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo runs with the ball during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) Thanassis Stavrakis

Associated Press
Published: 6/19/2017 8:28:23 PM

MADRID – Real Madrid President Florentino Perez says he has yet to speak with Cristiano Ronaldo regarding speculation that the star forward wants to leave Spain after being accused of tax fraud.

“The whole thing is very strange because Cristiano Ronaldo is a great guy, both as a player and a person. That’s why I will speak with him when he gets back and see what’s up,” Perez told Spanish radio Onda Cero late Monday.

Ronaldo is at the Confederations Cup in Russia, playing for Portugal.

The interview was Perez’s first comment on Ronaldo since Portuguese sports daily A Bola reported on Friday that Ronaldo was considering leaving Spain after a state prosecutor accused him of four counts of tax fraud totaling 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) in unpaid taxes.

“I still haven’t spoken to Cristiano Ronaldo. I found out about all this from a newspaper,” Perez said. “He will tell us what has happened. The only thing I know is that he feels mistreated by the media.”

Madrid’s long-time president said the club had not received any transfer offers for Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing, and Madrid issued a statement last week saying it believed the player was innocent. A judge will decide whether there are grounds to take the matter to court.

Perez said on Monday that “as far as I know Cristiano has always met (his fiscal obligations)” and that “it all must be some sort of misunderstanding that will be cleared up quickly.”

Perez’s radio interview came hours after the 70-year-old businessman was reelected to a fifth four-year term as Madrid’s president. He ran unopposed.

A four-time Ballon d’Or winner, the 32-year-old Ronaldo is the top European soccer player. He has led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles and its first Spanish league in five seasons this year, and helped Portugal to win last year’s European Championship.

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