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FOOTBALL

Spanish taxman knocks €2milliom off Ronaldo tax settlement:

After ordering football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to pay 18.8 million euros ($21.6 million) to settle a tax fraud claim, Spanish authorities have reduced the sum by two million euros, the El Mundo daily reported Friday.

Spanish taxman knocks €2milliom off Ronaldo tax settlement:
ristiano Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's winning the third Champions League title in May. Photo: AFP

Spain's taxman and Ronaldo's advisors made the deal to settle claims the 33-year-old, who has since moved to Italy's Juventus, hid income generated from  image rights while he was playing for Real Madrid.

The agreement also includes a two-year jail sentence which he won't serve. Sentences of up to two years are generally not enforced in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.

According to El Mundo, who had access to documents of the settlement, tax authorities realised he paid two million euros too much last year for image rights he sold in 2014.

That means he only has to pay €16.7 million, the report said.   

It added that Ronaldo has already paid €13.4 million.   

Spain's finance ministry would not comment on the report.   

READ MORE: Spain's taxman approves Ronaldo multi-million tax settlement

The newspaper said the tax agreement also means that the court near Madrid investigating the case had dropped charges against Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes.

The court was not immediately available for comment.   

Had the case gone further, without the player offering a settlement, Ronaldo could have faced a reported fine of 28 millions euros and a three-and-a-half-year jail term, according to the Spanish tax office union 
Gestha.   

Ronaldo's big rival, Barcelona's Argentinian star Lionel Messi, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.

The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of €252,000 equivalent to 400 euros a day of the original term.

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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