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Cristiano Ronaldo Fined $21 Mil for Tax Fraud ... Avoids Prison

1/22/2019 4:00 AM PST

Cristiano Ronaldo Fined $21 Mil for Tax Fraud, Avoids Prison

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Cristiano Ronaldo was ordered to pay a $21 MILLION fine as punishment in his tax fraud case -- but the good news for the soccer superstar, he won't have to serve a 23-month prison sentence. 

And, for a guy who reportedly earns around $90 MILLION per year, that's a pretty good deal for him! 

The 33-year-old appeared in court in Spain on Tuesday morning smiling and holding hands with his girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez ... almost like he knew it was not a big deal. 

And, the reason? CR7 had previously agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors ... so Tuesday's court date was just a formality to make it official. 

CR7 had been accused of hiding around $16.7 MILLION income he made from his image rights in Spain between 2011 and 2014

He was facing a 23-month prison sentence -- but hammered out a deal to pay the fine and move on with his life. 

It also helps that in Spain, a 1st-time offender sentenced to less than 24 months in prison can serve probation instead of being locked up. 

The fine is really no big deal for a guy like Ronaldo -- Forbes reports he pulls in around $93 mil from pro soccer and endorsement deals. 

Of course, Ronaldo has other legal issues -- he's being sued in the United States by a woman who claims he raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. 

Ronaldo has denied wrongdoing. Cops are still investigating. 

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