Nike has spoken out about claims that Cristiano Ronaldo raped a woman in 2009, calling them “disturbing,” Sky News reported.
The sportswear company, which has sponsored the soccer star since 2003, released a statement after a woman filed a lawsuit, accusing the Portugal star of raping her almost 10 years ago.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said in the statement.
Their comments came just hours after Ronaldo, 33, was left out of Portugal’s team for their two upcoming matches, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
The Juventus forward is battling a rape accusation from American teacher Kathryn Mayorga, who claims he sexually abused her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Ronaldo has firmly denied all allegations in an official statement posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday.
I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.
“Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense. My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquility the results of any and all investigations,” he said.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has jumped to his player’s defense, saying he believes his side of the story. Santos added the decision to keep the team’s captain away from the pitch was reached in agreement with Ronaldo himself, and with the head of the Portuguese soccer federation.
The former Real Madrid star will not be allowed to play for his national team in its second game of the UEFA Nations League in Poland on October 11, as well as in the friendly match against Scotland three days later in Glasgow.
His current team, Juventus, also came to his defense and said the player had “shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication.”
“The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion,” the club said.
CR7 has been engulfed in controversy ever since German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Mayorga, 34, was allegedly talked into signing a $375,000 settlement deal with Ronaldo in 2010. But now her legal team has filed a lawsuit to declare the non-disclosure agreement void, and the investigation has been reopened. According to Mayorga, she has now found the courage to come forward because of the #MeToo movement.