MADRID (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo has reached a deal with Spanish authorities to settle a tax evasion case by paying an 18.8 million-euro ($21.8 million) fine and accepting a suspended jail sentence, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Real Madrid`s all-time highest scorer, who is due to play in Portugal`s opening World Cup match against Spain on Friday, is the latest in a long line of top soccer players to be accused of tax evasion since a crackdown by Spanish courts.
The source confirmed Spanish newspaper El Mundo`s report of the deal but said it had yet to be signed by the lawyers.
The 33-year-old is accused of evading 14.7 million euros in taxes. He has denied the allegations.
Under the deal, Ronaldo would get a two-year jail sentence, but is unlikely to go to prison as Spanish law states a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.
Barcelona`s Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.
Ronaldo clouded fans` delight in Real`s 3-1 win over Liverpool in the European Champions League final in Kiev in May by hinting he was about to leave the club.
The five-time Ballon d`Or winner, was named the world`s most popular athlete by ESPN on the basis of his social media following, endorsement deals and search score. He also headed the ESPN World Fame 100 list for a third year, pipping U.S. basketball player Lebron James and Messi.