Police in Las Vegas have reopened a criminal investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo at the request of a woman who alleges she was raped by the Juventus forward nine years ago.
According to a lawsuit filed Sept. 27 in Nevada’s Clark County District Court, Ronaldo is accused of sexually assaulting Kathryn Mayorga, a 25-year-old American woman, in a penthouse at the Palms Casino Resort in June 2009.
Mayorga made the allegations public last week in an interview published by the German magazine Der Spiegel and asked for police to investigate the incident further with her cooperation, citing a non-disclosure agreement she claims to have signed in a settlement deal with Ronaldo that deterred her from speaking about the alleged incident.
“At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description,” Las Vegas police said in a statement reported by the BBC. “As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided.”
Ronaldo, 33, appeared to deny the accusations as “fake news” in a live stream, which is no longer available, on his Instagram account over the weekend.
He is seen to say in the video: “No, no, no, no, no. What they said today [was] fake news.
“They want to promote my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous to say my name. Yeah, but it is part of the job. I’m a happy man, I’m all good.”
Ronaldo’s legal team, per BBC, threatened a lawsuit against Der Spiegel.
His lawyer, Christian Schertz, said: “The reporting in Spiegel is blatantly illegal.”
Schertz added that he had been instructed to seek compensation for “moral damages” over “probably one of the most serious violations of personal rights in recent years.”
Mayorga, now 34, said she filed a rape report with Las Vegas police immediately after the alleged incident in 2009. She claims to have reached an out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo in 2010 involving a $375,000 (£288,000) payment for agreeing never to go public with the accusations. Her lawyers are now reportedly seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement void.
Save The Children, a charity that Ronaldo has represented since 2016, expressed its concern at Der Spiegel’s contested claims on Tuesday.
“We are disheartened by the news report we’ve seen in the last 24 hours and are working to get more information,” the charity told The Independent.
Ronaldo watched Juventus’ 3-0 victory over Swiss side Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday from the stands due to a one-game suspension. He was sent off in the Bianconeri’s win over Valencia in a controversial clash with Jeison Murillo.
One of the most decorated players in modern football, Ronaldo won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid, in addition to multiple league and cup wins in Spain. He had been a Manchester United player for six years, winning Champions League and Premier League titles, before becoming the world’s most expensive player in 2009 in his move to Madrid.
This summer Ronaldo departed the Santiago Bernabeu in a €100 million (£88/$117m) transfer to Juventus, champions of Serie A.
Juventus are currently top of the Italian table having defeated last season’s runners-up, Napoli, 3-1 on Saturday.
Ronaldo was a key player in that top-of-the-table clash and, after the match, criticised Mohamed Salah’s Puskas Award win for best goal of last season.
The Portuguese did not attend FIFA’s The Best ceremony last Monday, at which the best goal of the year award was given to Liverpool’s Salah, with the top gong for player of the year going to Ronaldo’s team-mate at Real Madrid, Luka Modric.
Lionel Messi, perceived as Ronaldo’s arch-rival for the last decade, also snubbed the FIFA gala. Modric said after winning his award that he’d hoped the pair would have attended following a backlash of heavy criticism from legends of the game .