Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo may claim that his former soccer club Real Madrid pressured him into settling with U.S. model Kathryn Mayorga for approximately $379,000 as part of an alleged hush-money deal back in 2010, reports the Daily Mail.
Mayorga, who has accused Ronaldo of raping her at a hotel in Las Vegas back in 2009, alleges that she reached a settlement with him back in 2010 in exchange for her silence. As the 33-year-old soccer player faces a U.S. investigation into Mayorga’s claims, Portuguese publication Correio da Manhã reports that Ronaldo’s possible defense strategy involves stating that Real Madrid told him to make the settlement to protect his image in case Mayorga’s police allegation went to court.
“One of the main arguments the star is going to use will be that he was pressured into signing the agreement to pay the American woman. The footballer had just signed a lucrative contract with Real Madrid and the club was concerned about its image. Their concern was heightened when, during his holidays in the U.S., Ronaldo was the center of attention and was even photographed on a night out with Paris Hilton. The investment made by Real Madrid was high and although they never doubted the quality of the player, the club was apprehensive about the consequences of his off-pitch behavior.”
The publication added that Ronaldo was opposed to the alleged settlement at the time.
Mayorga went to the police in August to request that her sexual allegation case be opened again. According to the Mirror, the police still have the medical rape kit used on the day she reported the alleged assault and investigators intend to interview Ronaldo about her claims.
Ronaldo has denied sexually assaulting Mayorga, calling her accusations “fake news” and commenting that rape is an “abominable crime.”
On Twitter, Ronaldo wrote, “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.”
A second tweet read, “My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquility the results of any and all investigations.”
A video via Daily Mail of the soccer player has also surfaced, showing him lounging by a hotel pool in Las Vegas in 2009, allegedly several hours after Mayorga claimed he raped her. The video is reportedly from June 13, 2009, and features a 24-year-old Ronaldo having a drink, swimming in the pool, and getting a poolside massage.
On Sunday, Ronaldo flew to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, from Italy to meet with lawyers. He was later seen at a private bar with his Spanish girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez.