Santos backs Ronaldo '100 per cent as an athlete and as a man'

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The want-away Real Madrid forward has the unwavering support of his international coach with Portugal after being accused of breaking tax rules

Portugal coach Fernando Santos says he trusts Cristiano Ronaldo "100 per cent as an athlete and a man" after the Real Madrid star was accused of defrauding Spanish tax authorities.

Prosecutors in Madrid have filed a complaint to a court in Pozuelo de Alarcon in which they accuse the Real Madrid star of a "voluntary" and "conscious" breach of his tax obligations, totalling €14.7million.

The situation has led to claims Ronaldo wants to leave the European champions, potentially prompting a scramble for his signature from the world's biggest clubs.

Which clubs could afford Ronaldo?

Santos, who led Portugal to Euro 2016 glory in France, insisted the 32-year-old's character should not be questioned and launched a passionate defence of his star striker.

"I've known him for many years," he told a news conference ahead of Portugal's Confederations Cup opener against Mexico in Kazan.

"I was his last coach in Portugal when he was 18 years old. I can put my hands on the fire for his character and integrity, as a man and an athlete. That's my clear statement. I trust him 100 per cent as an athlete and as a man."

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

Santos was pressed on the subject further but preferred to focus on on-field matters, adding: "I'm sure you want to ask the same questions but I will answer no more questions about Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I have a pact with my players, I have a great relationship with each of them. We've laid down that everything to do with their personal relationships is done outside the team. 

Ronaldo should thank Real Madrid

"When we're focused on a tournament, all those other issues, we don't pay attention to. 

"So you have to pay attention to what the sources are for this information. I never heard about some of the news being spread. Either I am deaf, and I'm not, everyone knows I'm a great listener, or you have to be careful about where this news comes from.

"Cristiano supports every single player in the team and we have a great relationship. There are no individuals. Each player supports the other."

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