Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric latest to be accused of tax fraud in Spain

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Charged with tax fraud: Luka Modric

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric became the latest football star in Spain accused by prosecutors of committing tax fraud on revenue from his image rights, a court filing revealed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors believe the Croatian, whose wife Vadja is also cited in the accusation, evaded 870,728 in 2013 and 2014 via a shell company set up in Luxembourg.

However, that figure could rise once details of financial holdings belonging to the player in the Isle of Man are revealed to Spanish authorities.

Modric, 32, joined Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a reported fee of £30 million in 2012. He is just the latest in a series of star players based in Spain to be accused of tax fraud on income related to image rights in the past few years.

On Tuesday, Madrid left-back Marcelo admitted to a 490,917 tax fraud via his image rights in 2013.

As part of Marcelo’s agreement with the authorities, the Brazilian is expected to be handed a four-month suspended sentence and a fine worth 40 per cent of the defrauded amount.

Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court in July over accusations he evaded 14.7 million worth of tax between 2011 and 2014.

Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano received 21-month and one-year suspended sentences respectively after being found guilty of tax fraud over their image rights in 2016.

However, five-time World Player of the Year Messi’s sentence was later replaced by a 252,000 fine.​

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Ronaldo seeks end to La Liga scoring woes and other Real Madrid talking points

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Real Madrid need to pick up the pace in La Liga and Saturday’s encounter with Malaga at the Bernabeu presents the perfect opportunity to do just that.

With Barcelona already racing away at the top of the standings, the Madridistas have it all to do in order to defend their crown.

Here are a few talking points ahead of their clash with Malaga.

OPPORTUNITY TO PUT PRESSURE ON BARCELONA

We’re only 12 games into the season and Barcelona have already opened up a 10-point lead over the two Madrid outfits. However, the Catalans travel to second placed Valencia on Sunday night, offering Real the opportunity to reduce the deficit on Saturday and put pressure on their rivals ahead of their kick-off.

If Zinedine Zidane’s side are to recover from their slow start to the league campaign, this weekend could very well be the first step.

At the very least, a win would reduce the gap between themselves and Valencia even if Barcelona come away with three points.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

RONALDO TO END LA LIGA DROUGHT

Cristiano Ronaldo has only scored once in La Liga this season and is currently on a four-game drought in the league. But that should come to an end at the Bernabeu against the league’s second worst defence this season.

After thumping Apoel 6-0 away from home in the Champions League this week, Madrid should be able to rediscover some of their swagger in the league. Crucially, the criticised front pairing of Karim Benzema and Ronaldo both secured braces on the night, doing their confidence a world of good.

In all fairness to the Portuguese, he has been playing well in the last few league games anyway despite his unflattering conversion rate. Ronaldo remains Madrid’s chief threat and is due for a big haul in the league.

After Lionel Messi picked up the Golden Shoe on Friday, a fourth to equal Ronaldo’s tally, perhaps the Madrid man will set out with a point to prove and Malaga may well be the unfortunate recipients.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

VALLEJO TO GET ANOTHER CHANCE TO SHINE

Sergio Ramos is back in training but has been wearing a facial mask during sessions as he recovers from a broken nose while Nacho is suspended for this fixture. That means Zidane could turn to Jesus Vallejo in central defence.

The defender has already impressed this season and could have another opportunity to prove his worth. The 20-year-old shouldn’t have too much of a test though if everything goes to plan with Malaga hardly offering much of an attacking threat.

Only Alaves (6) and Las Palmas (8) have scored fewer goals than Saturday’s visitors (9) in La Liga this season.

 Jesus Vallejo (L)

Jesus Vallejo (L)

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Ronaldo will be back scoring for Real Madrid soon - that's who he is

Andy West 20/11/2017
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It’s very easy to mock Cristiano Ronaldo. There’s something about his persona that just makes him very, well, mockable.

Actually, there are a few things. His vanity of comical proportions, his tunnel-visioned selfishness, his habit of being viciously fouled by fierce blades of grass inside the penalty area and his regular toddler tantrums all leave him wide open to criticism, abuse and, yes, mockery.

And so, at times like these when he is failing to produce his usual goal per game scoring ratio, there is never any shortage of people willing to wade in with brutal and often gleeful condemnation.

Another blank in Saturday night’s dull derby draw against Atletico means that Ronaldo has still only scored one league goal for Real Madrid so far this season, deep into November. And that is perfect fuel to the fire for those many among us who are always happy to have a good old laugh at CR7’s expense.

Enjoy it while you can, though, because you know who will end up having the last laugh? Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite statistical evidence to the contrary, Ronaldo is not playing badly at the moment. Far from it – he was, by some distance, the biggest goal threat during Saturday night’s goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The longer the game went on, the more it looked like the breakthrough, if there was to be one, would come from Ronaldo, who finished the game with seven shots on goal – more than double the tally of any other player.

Two of those were free-kicks which home keeper Jan Oblak did well to repel, another was a half-chance snapshot which he dragged wide, and two more were powerful angled drives which were brilliantly blocked by young left-back Lucas Hernandez before they had the chance to reach Oblak, who might not have been able to do much about them anyway.

Ronaldo also created perhaps his team’s best chance on the night, unselfishly (see that?!) playing a one-two on the edge of the box with Toni Kroos, whose shot squirmed into the side-netting.

Does that sound like the night’s work of a player who, at the age of 32, is past it or in terrible form?

Back Ronaldo to find form soon.

Back Ronaldo to find form soon.

Of course not. And when you look at the further facts of Ronaldo’s season so far, it becomes more and more apparent that even during this supposed ‘slump’ in form he is still playing at a level which most forwards would be more than happy with.

For starters, it should be remembered that Ronaldo missed the first four league games through suspension. Then, bear in mind that he has scored six goals in four games in the Champions League, including a brilliant brace in his team’s 3-1 win at Borussia Dortmund, probably their best performance of the season.

Next, let’s note that he also netted in the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona. Oh, and there have also been four goals in four games for Portugal.

So when you take into account competitions other than La Liga, Ronaldo’s paltry record of ‘one goal all season’ is suddenly transformed into 12 goals in 18 games – a ratio which pretty much any player in the world would be more than happy with.

Another number worth bearing in mind is 55: not the driving limit in the USA, but the number of shots he has fired towards goal so far this season. The fact that only one of those has gone in really is quite perplexing, but it shows that he is still presenting a serious goal threat which, in any serious analysis, is the main test of a forward’s effectiveness.

Indeed, his average of 6.9 shots per game is higher than any other player in La Liga – even Lionel Messi, who has found the target on 11 more occasions, has only averaged 6 shots per game.

Of course, this lack of accuracy/poor conversion rate could easily serve as further ammunition for those who wish to criticise Ronaldo which, as already acknowledged, can be a rather fun pastime.

But does anyone really think that Ronaldo’s next 55 shots will result in only one goal? If you do, you’ll be in a small minority. And you’ll be wrong, because Ronaldo will, without any doubt, start scoring on a regular basis very soon.

He’ll make absolutely sure of that – it’s just part of his charm.

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