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FOOTBALL

Cristiano Ronaldo says his ‘brilliance’ bothers people

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said Tuesday his "brilliance" annoys people, a day after he was quizzed by a Spanish judge investigating whether he evaded paying millions of euros in taxes

Cristiano Ronaldo says his 'brilliance' bothers people

“What bothers people is my brilliance, insects only attack lamps that shine!!!!” the Portuguese wrote in an Instagram message that received over a million likes within an hour of being posted.

Ronaldo spent over 90 minutes on Monday answering the questions of investigating judge Monica Gomez at a closed door hearing in Pozuelo de Alarcon, the wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives.

Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of having evaded €14.7 million ($17.3 million) in tax.

Ronaldo, 32, has denied any wrongdoing. He told the judge he has always filed his tax returns and “never had the intention of evading taxes”, according to a statement from his representatives.

READ MORE: Ronaldo denied tax fraud at court hearing

Spanish daily El Mundo said the player — the world's highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine — implied during his court hearing that he was only being investigated because of who he is.

“I am only here because my name is Cristiano Ronaldo,” the player told the judge, according to the newspaper.

Ronaldo had been expected to speak to the throng of reporters gathered outside of the court after the hearing but instead his spokesman Inaki Torres emerged from the building to announce the player “was on his way home”, prompting jeers from the press.

Portuguese television SIC reported that Ronaldo aborted the appearance at the podium set up outside the court because the court hearing had gone badly, with many moments of “tension” between him and the judge.

Ronaldo is not the only footballer to fall foul of authorities in Spain.

His arch-rival, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, was found guilty of tax evasion last year.

Other footballers have also recently run into trouble with Spain's taxman, some of them already convicted and others under investigation.

FOOTBALL

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.

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