Spain Prosecutors Seek Jail For Real Madrid Coach Carlo Ancelotti Over Tax

Spanish prosecutors on Wednesday called for Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti to be jailed for four years and nine months, saying he had failed to declare earnings to the tax office. The Madrid state prosecutor’s office accused the 64-year-old Italian of having cost Spain’s treasury more than one million euros in undeclared earnings from image rights in 2014 and 2015. “Although he himself declared himself to be a tax resident in Spain and indicated that his home was in Madrid, he only declared in his tax returns the personal remuneration received from Real Madrid,” the tax office said in a statement.

It accused Ancelotti of allegedly setting up a “confusing” and “complex” system of shell companies to hide his extra earnings from his image rights as well as from other sources such as real estate.

Prosecutors also alleged that the Real Madrid coach “simulated” the transfer of his image rights to entities “without any real activity” based outside of Spain to maintain “opacity vis-a-vis” the Spanish treasury.

He earned 1.24 million euros ($1.3 million) in 2014 from the sale of his image rights and 2.96 million euros in 2015, according to prosecutors.

A Spanish court in July ordered Ancelotti — regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time — to stand trial over the affair, but no date has been set.

A judge leading the investigation said Ancelotti had “acknowledged” the actions that deprived the treasury of money, according to a 2023 court document seen by AFP last year, which could open the door to an agreement with prosecutors to settle the case without trial and avoid prison.

“What I can say is that this is an old story that I hope will be resolved soon,” Ancelotti told reporters on Wednesday after Real Madrid scraped through to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-1 second-leg draw against RB Leipzig, progressing 2-1 on aggregate.

“I don’t have any problems, I’m very calm,” he said.

Spanish crackdown

Spain has cracked down in recent years on top football players who have not paid their due.

Star players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were both found guilty of tax evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for being first-time offenders.

Former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho received a one-year suspended sentence after reaching a guilty plea for tax fraud in 2019.

Colombian superstar artist Shakira in November agreed to receive a three-year suspended sentence and pay 7.3 million euros in fines to settle a tax fraud case and avoid trial.

Prosecutors had accused the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer of defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014, charges Shakira had denied, saying she only moved to Spain full-time in 2015.

Ancelotti took over at Real Madrid in 2013, leaving in May 2015, before being appointed at Bayern Munich the following year.

He later managed Napoli and Everton before returning to Real Madrid in 2021.

Ancelotti had been tipped to coach Brazil’s national team when his contract with Real Madrid ended but instead, in December, he extended it to June 2026.

Ancelotti has won the Champions League four times — twice with AC Milan and on two occasions with Real Madrid.

He has won domestic league titles with Madrid and Milan, in England with Chelsea, in Germany with Bayern Munich and in France with Paris Saint-Germain.

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