Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at his long-standing critics in a slightly surreal Instagram post following his court appearance over alleged tax payment avoidance.
The Real Madrid superstar, who is the most followed sportsman on the social media site, posted an image of himself with a caption that poured scorn on those that constantly tried to belittle him.
The accompanying message with the image read: “What bothers people is my brilliance. Insects only attack lamps that shine!”
The posting comes just two days after Ronaldo appeared before a Spanish court for the first time to defend his name against tax dodging allegations levelled at him over the summer.
The 32-year-old, who recently revealed that his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez was pregnant with his fourth child, has had to bat away claims that he is the latest big footballing star to fiddle his tax expenses in Iberia.
Speaking before the judge in charge of proceedings, Ronaldo claimed that he had only been dragged before the authorities due to his world-wide fame.
He simply stated: “I am only here because my name is Cristiano Ronaldo.”
The Portugal captain also told those in attendance that he always filed his tax returns on time and “never had the intention of evading taxes”, before finishing up by remarking that his “conscience is clear.”
Ronaldo, who spent 90 minutes in court after entering via a side door to evade the assembled press, is accused of evading £13.1m in unpaid tax to the Spanish tax office.
Prosecutors claim (via BBC News) that Ronaldo took “advantage of a company structure, created in 2010, to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities” – a decision which was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain.”
If his case is sent for trial, the ex-Manchester United and Sporting star could be line to receive a hefty fine to the tune of 28m and a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.