Members of the media gather outside the courthouse where Real Madrid's Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was testifying on charges of tax fraud in Pozuelo de Alarcon, outside Madrid, Spain July 31, 2017.
Members of the media gather outside the courthouse where Real Madrid's Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was testifying on charges of tax fraud in Pozuelo de Alarcon, outside Madrid, Spain July 31, 2017.

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo protested his innocence after testifying in court on Monday against charges of evading 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in taxes.

The 32-year-old Portuguese, who was in the Pozuelo de Alarcon court for about 90 minutes, declined to speak to reporters afterwards, but he released a statement through his agency Gestifute.

"The Spanish tax authorities know my income in detail, because we have given it to them. I have never hidden anything in my declarations, nor have I had the smallest intention of evading taxes," Ronaldo said.

"I always make my declarations voluntarily, because I think we all have to declare and pay tax in accordance to our incomes. Those who know me know what I ask my advisors: that they take their time on it and pay correctly, because I don't want problems."

Ronaldo explained that he did not create a special structure to manage his image rights after joining Real from Manchester United in 2010, saying he utilised the set-up which was deemed "legal and legitimate" by English tax authorities.

Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence this year on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies