Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo said his pleasure of winning the Ballon d'Or has been ruined by speculation over his tax affairs.
Instead of basking in the glory of his fourth Ballon d'Or triumph on Monday, Ronaldo lamented claims of tax avoidance among numerous high-profile players in LaLiga and elsewhere as the allegations take their toll on the Portugal captain.
Gestifute, the company operated by Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, firmly denied any wrongdoing, insisting the 31-year-old has been fully compliant with all obligations relating to taxation, while Madrid have backed their all-time leading goalscorer.
And Ronaldo voiced his displeasure over the allegations as he maintained his innocence, confident the truth will eventually come out.
"Of course it ruined my pleasure [to win Ballon d'Or], it would be lying to say no," Ronaldo told France Football in an interview.
"I am not a hypocrite, it didn't do anything good to me, the whole process is hard not only for me, but also for the people who are with me: my family, my son, all those who work with me.
"My son goes to school and begins to understand things. 'Try to do things well, to be transparent, I don't have any reason to lie'.
"When you talk about my private life, my friends, the place I went on vacation, the fact that I have or not a girlfriend, that's normal, but when it comes to something serious like this, who has to have with justice ... I have my lawyers, the club, the people who work for me ... It hurt me because we always try to do things well.
"When they talk about me [EIC], and the way they do it, I don't feel good, There are a lot of innocent people in prison, and I feel like that. You know you didn't do anything wrong, and they tell you that you did something reprehensible. It can't please anyone.
"The truth always breaks out, sooner or later!"
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.