Cristiano Ronaldo tax evasion: Portugal star hints at leaving Real Madrid

Solenn Plantier
Juin 19, 2017

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo attends a training session at the Rubin Training Ground in Kazan, Russia, on Friday, June 16.

The 32-year-old Portugal worldwide is coming into the Confederations Cup in form and on a high having led Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double last season, but Mexico won't have a specific man-marker for Ronaldo.

After the report, worldwide media filled Portugal's training session in Kazan, where Ronaldo trained normally with the rest of the squad.

Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in his last 11 matches, including two in Portugal's 3-0 win at Latvia in a European World Cup qualifier last week, the team's last match before the Confederations Cup opener against Mexico.

It is a competition that has yet to capture the football world's imagination, but when Russian Federation 2017 begins Saturday, every continental champion, plus the World Cup winners and host nation, will be attempting to win the trophy, and Ronaldo has admitted that he regards it as a cup he dreams of lifting.

It will be European champion Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo in top form, taking on Gold Cup victor Mexico in a game that is likely to decide the group victor.

Ronaldo was making the headlines on Friday, two days before Portugal's Confederations Cup debut in Russian Federation, because of a report that said he wants to leave Real Madrid and Spain following allegations that he defrauded the country's tax authorities.

"Nothing is going to change", Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio said Saturday, a day before Portugal's Confederations Cup debut against Mexico in Kazan.

Portugal is hoping a red-hot Cristiano Ronaldo can continue his sparkling form and help the European champions show that their victory at Euro 2016 wasn't a fluke. "He is focused on what needs to be done here, and without a doubt he will have a great tournament".

"He is an example for us, the way he works, the way he plays", Patricio said. "He is an idol even for the players, and we hope that he can help Portugal with some of his goals and victories".

The Portuguese sports daily A Bola published a front-page story Friday saying that Ronaldo was upset with the accusations made against him and that his decision was "irreversible". "I have the same confidence today", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said earlier this week.

"Since I joined the national team I've felt very welcomed", Silva said. "All these issues will not affect us".

But for the next two weeks the main thing on the mind of the reigning Ballon d'Or holder is winning more silverware in the eight-nation World Cup warm-up event.

Ronaldo's staff did not immediately respond to messages asking for a comment.

Last year, Ronaldo extended his contract with Madrid until June 2021, saying he wanted to end his career at the club.

That has prompted speculation linking him with Paris St Germain and Manchester United amongst others, but Silva, who completed a big-money switch to AC Milan from Porto earlier this month, insists the four-time Champions League victor remains focused on his country's upcoming matches.

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