Former Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo could be stripped of his knighthoods in his native Portugal, the nation’s President has warned.
Ronaldo was named Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry in January 2014, before being awarded the Grand Cross of the Portuguese Order of Merit after Portugal won Euro 2016.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has now confirmed the global superstar could lose these honours after accepting a suspended two-year jail sentence and €18.8m fine for tax fraud committed in Spain between 2011 and 2014, when he was playing for Los Blancos.
“The law is very simple: it is up to the chancellors of the national orders to see if anything has happened that could lead to the loss of an honour,” Rebelo de Sousa was quoted as saying by AFP.
“We should let those with the legal power to decide to do so and see whether the law applies or not in this case.”
However, Madeira leader Miguel Albuquerque made it clear Ronaldo’s status on the island would remain in place: “Here in Madeira, Cristiano Ronaldo has always been seen as a good person… He is not a criminal. [His tax-fraud charge was an] interpretation of a tax issue.
“He is the most prestigious Portuguese in the world.”