Johannesburg [South Africa]: Real Madrid star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who defeated Barcelona star Lionel Messi to clinch the Ballon d’or award for the fourth time, has said the victory celebrations have been tarnished by allegations of tax fraud.
Ronaldo, who lifted the coveted award after inspiring Zinedine Zidane’s side to the Champions League glory and Portugal to the European Championship 2016 trophy, said the allegations have been hard to bear for himself and his loved ones and also “partly spoiled the pleasure” of winning the coveted award.
“It would be a lie to say otherwise,” he was quoted as saying by Sport24.
As many as twelve European newspapers, on the basis of the documents obtained by the German weekly Der Spiegel, have published excerpts of the so-called Football Leaks dossier, which include allegations concerning Portuguese striker and other top footballers.
As per the reports, Ronaldo used tax havens to stash away 160 USD million he earned from image rights. This accusation was however denied by the star striker.
“Obviously this has not been good for me,” he said. “It is hard not only for me but also for the people who are near me: my family, my son, all those who work with me.”
Ronaldo, who previously lifted the prestigious prize in 2008, 2013 and 2014, is now one behind Messi, who took the honour for a fifth time last year.
The Portuguese has scored 19 goals in 20 games for club and country this term, to add to the 54 goals he got last season. (ANI)