It was a Ronaldo versus Spain Friday – on and off the field. On the field, Spain was at receiving end as the Portuguese star striker scored a jaw-dropping hat-trick to force a sensational draw. Off the field, Ronaldo will pay 20 million in taxes to settle the dispute with the Spanish department and avoid a possible jail term.
ON FIELD FIRST
A brilliant hat-trick by Ronaldo ensured that Portugal forces a draw against its fancied rivals, and the “mother of World Cup rivalries’ lives up to the hype around it. CR7 had put Portugal ahead twice in the quest as they chased their maiden World Cup win against arch-rivals Spain. On each occasion, Diego Costa restored parity. Spain had surged ahead on a Nacho goal and maintained the lead late into the game, only to lose the advantage when Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a free kick and force an exciting draw.
Who says, only results are exciting. The 3-3 draw between Portugal and Spain has had the rivals, fans on the edges of their seats and millions of audiences glued to screens across the world.
In the process of forcing the draw, Ronaldo also matched a feat of legendary Brazilian Pele and Germans Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. The 33-year-old Portuguese has become the fourth footballer ever to score a goal in four consecutive World Cup finals, while taking his international career record to 84 goals from 151 games.
Spain went into the FIFA World Cup 2018 with its share of troubles as coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked on Wednesday, a mere two days before the crucial Group B game against traditional foes Portugal.
However, as the script has unfolded at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium the Spain-Portugal game will be remembered more for Ronaldo’s hat-trick than any other factor.
SETTLEMENT OFF FIELD
CR7, having settled the score in Portugal’s favour, is out to settle his long-standing tax dispute with Spanish authorities. He has reportedly agreed to accept a suspended two-year jail term and a total fine of €18.8million ($21.8 million) to end the long pending dispute with the Spanish tax authorities.
The Real Madrid star has been accused of tax evasion on revenue from his image rights deals in Spain. Even as Ronaldo had denied all charges, he had reportedly agreed for the settlement to avoid a possible jail term.
Ronaldo, despite agreeing to the $29.3 million settlement claim, will also receive a two-year jail term. However, the Portuguese star will not be jailed as Spanish laws allow to serve a two year or lesser jail term for the first offence to be served on probation.
The news comes as a big reprieve for the football icon at a crucial juncture when he would like to focus all his energies and mind on the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.