Football: Monaco forced to pay millions in tax to Spain – report

French Ligue 1 side Monaco were forced to pay almost €12 million to Spain's tax authorities over the transfers of stars including Colombian James Rodriguez, the Football Leaks investigation said on Wednesday.

Football: Monaco forced to pay millions in tax to Spain - report
Photo: AFP

The Principality outfit had to pay an estimated €6.6 million ($6.9 million) for the Rodriguez transfer, according to French news site Mediapart, one of the 12 European media organisations aiming to expose financial fraud in the game through Football Leaks.

Monaco signed Rodriguez for €45 million from Porto in 2013 and sold him for a reported 80 million euros to Real a year later.

The club also paid the Spanish taxman 5.1 million euros in tax on profits from the sales of Belgian Yannick Carrasco to Atletico Madrid and Tunisian Aymen Abdennour to Valencia.

Spain views the Principality of Monaco, where the Ligue 1 club is based, as a tax haven and imposes a 19 percent tax on profits from sales into the Spanish market.

Contacted by Mediapart, Monaco confirmed that a “litigation is in process” but did not comment on the sums reported.   

“The amounts were paid but are contested,” said Monaco's management.    

Mediapart put the total amount Monaco have paid Spain's tax authorities at around €11.7 million.

The Football Leaks investigation has also accused Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho of tax evasion – charges the pair deny.

The wide-ranging probe of financial documents accused Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba of stashing away money in the Channel Islands, at the request of his agent Mino Raiola, and claimed Paris Saint-Germain duo Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore funnelled parts of their income through tax havens.

On Tuesday, France's national financial prosecutor's office said they had opened a preliminary inquiry into tax fraud and money laundering in the wake of the Football Leaks revelations.

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Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.