The top footballers of our generation not only impress us on the field, their paychecks too, grab our attention. Besides clubs paying unimaginable amounts of money, their wallets overflow with cash from sponsors, image rights, side businesses, and others. But despite the large salary, these stars seem unable to afford a decent tax advisor. The Messis and Ronaldos of football have often been investigated for messing up their taxes. The latest one on the list is Real Madrid’s Marcelo.
The 30-year-old will be paying a penalty of €750,000 and has accepted a four-month jail term, for defrauding the Spanish state of €490,000. Spain has, of late, begun a crackdown on footballers who have tax irregularities.
Let’s take a look at some of the players who added a tax goof up to their fame. BTW, a vast number of defrauders are from Spanish clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid – the biggest ones in football.
The former AS Monaco captain was handed a tax penalty worth $10.5 million and a suspended prison sentence on May 23. El Tigre was found guilty of setting up companies in Ireland and the British Virgin Islands to cover up his income from image rights after he was in Atletico Madrid.
Soon after joining Barcelona from Manchester United, Sanchez was slapped a 16-month suspended jail sentence and was accused of defrauding a grand total of $1.2 million. Like Falcao, he too set up a shell company to mask his income.
A similar story here. The Croatian created a ‘false’ company to channel his “image rights and avoiding tax”, as per a statement from the prosecutor in Madrid. His bill? That’s $1 million.
During his term as the coach of Real Madrid, Mourinho was accused of tax irregularities and owed £2.9million in terms of undeclared income. The case was closed after he agreed to settle the case after a hearing.
The Barcelona forward was slapped a 21-month suspended jail term and his father, who manages his taxes, was sentenced to 15-months. The duo defrauded Spain of €4.1 million and was forced to hefty fines.
Probably the one with the biggest bill, Ronaldo is accused of not paying $17.1 million in taxes between 2011 and 2014. He eventually had to settle for a suspended jail sentence and a penalty of $21.8 million.
Like we mentioned, a host of players pulled up for tax defrauding are linked to Spanish clubs. It leads us to wonder if these trophy-laden clubs are harbouring criminals.