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Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo Agrees to Deal in Tax Evasion Case

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has reached a deal with Spanish authorities in a tax evasion case in which he is accused of failing to pay $17.1 million in taxes from 2011 to 2014, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo and news agency Efe.

The Portuguese player, who plays on the La Liga team Real Madrid and on the Portuguese national team, has agreed to a suspended jail sentence and a $21.8 million fine. However, according to Reuters, he’s unlikely to serve the prison sentence, because of a Spanish rule that allows first offenders to serve probation if the sentence is fewer than two years in prison.

Lawyers had not yet signed the deal, according to Reuters.

The news was reported just before Ronaldo, who has denied the accusations, was scheduled to play on the Portuguese national team in a World Cup game against Spain. He ended up scoring all three goals for his team, which tied Spain.

The Real Madrid star is not the only high-profile soccer player to tangle with Spanish tax authorities. In 2017, Argentine player Lionel Messi, who plays for Real Madrid’s rival team FC Barcelona, was given 21 month prison sentence, which was reduced to $2.5 million in fines.

Ronaldo, 33, is among the world’s highest paid athletes. He “has an estimated net worth of $450 million,” according to CNBC, and his financial empire includes a contract with Nike, a slew of his own businesses, social media sponsorships, and endorsements.