Cristiano Ronaldo’s former employer, Juventus, faces a fine of up to 60 million euros for alleged secret payments to the Portuguese and some of his teammates at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ronaldo spent three years at Juventus after signing from Real Madrid for €100m in 2018, and was earning around €65m a season from his salary and bonuses when the pandemic broke out.
He agreed to forgo €4.3m of his earnings while a larger €20m transfer was being discussed, but now Italian investigators have uncovered documents outlining a secret €19.8m payment to the player.
The Serie A giants are being investigated by the Turin prosecutor’s office for falsifying accounts, and could face a penalty of up to €60m if found guilty.
Ronaldo, back at Manchester United, has been invited to testify but has so far resisted all attempts to question him. Juventus say there is no case to answer.
What has Juventus said?
After outlining the problems faced by all clubs with empty stadiums during the pandemic, Juve state the following:
“Regarding the general objection of having misrepresented the financial statements and having made inappropriate communications to the market, Juventus and its representatives consider that they have been operated in accordance with the relevant laws and technical accounting principles.
“Furthermore, during the years of interest, Juventus has distinguished itself by having initiated, in full transparency and in full compliance with the regulations, two separate capital increases. These transactions have consolidated Juventus as a powerhouse on the Italian football scene.”
Despite this proclamation, this summer has been the first transfer window since the start of the pandemic in which Juventus has made a profit.
The sale of Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich for €77m earned them the most money, while the biggest expense was the €50m deal to make Federico Chiesa’s loan move to Fiorentina permanent.
Last summer, the Old Lady released Ronaldo, who returned to Man Utd for just 15 million euros.