Friday was a big day for Cristiano Ronaldo. A day on which he joined the ranks of sporting superstars. But it wasn't his hat trick against Spain that did the job. It was the acquisition of the key accessory every galactico must have: a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion. After all, his arch rival Lionel Messi already had one, so what was the boy to do?
Of course, being Ronaldo, he had to go one better. Messi's suspended sentence was only for 21 months. Ronaldo was handed down 2 years. And Ronaldo's fine is €18.8m compared to €8.75m between Messi and his father.
And all this on the day he pretty much single-handedly dragged Portugal to a draw against Spain.
Ronaldo of course claims that he is the innocent here. It was his accountants that did it and he knew nothing about it. The crux of the case is a dispute over how much of Ronaldo's image rights should be declared as income in Spain. Are global deals with the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, Emirates, Castrol, Herbalife, and Tag Heuer, Spanish income or not? He claims not. Indeed, he went to some significant lengths to make it that way.
Ronaldo's claims that he was unaware of what his advisers were doing would mean that he either didn't know or didn't smell a rat when he ceded control of his image rights to a shell company in the British Virgin Islands, set up specifically for this purpose, or when that company ceded those rights on to two companies in Ireland. Spanish authorities are not impressed, as the fine and jail sentence bear witness to.