Cristiano Ronaldo appears determined to quit Spain as he believes he is being singled out for unfair treatment by the tax authorities.
The Portugal captain enjoyed a remarkable career in England and surpassed all expectations following his £80 million move to Real Madrid.
Ronaldo scored his 600th career goal in this year’s Champions League final – and that’s just the first of many astounding numbers.
Press Association Sport understands the 32-year-old is “outraged” after prosecutors accused him of defrauding the authorities of 14.7 million euros (£12.8 million).
Earlier this week Ronaldo’s agency Gestifute released a statement which said: “There is no tax evasion scheme… There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything.”
On Thursday Ronaldo, who signed a new five-year contract in November, posted a picture of himself with his fingers to his lips on Instagram with the caption “Sometimes the best answer it’s to be quiet”.
His tactics are not dissimilar to those of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who took a similar stance in threatening to quit Spain in 2014, also claiming he had been singled out for special treatment, when he was accused of concealing 4.1 million euros (£3.5 million) from the authorities.
Ronaldo is still only 32 and after bagging 51 goals last season appears to have a lot still left in him.
The recent claims coming out of the Ronaldo camp will have put some clubs on red alert – but there are some other numbers they’ll need to consider besides the Portuguese’s stats.
His Real contract is understood to have a buyout clause of 1 billion euros (£874 million) and, in May, Forbes calculated his pre-tax salary as being close to £45 million a year.
Those are figures to give even the world’s richest clubs reason to pause.