79°F
weather icon Clear

Rape claim against soccer star Ronaldo troubles Nike

Updated October 4, 2018 - 1:36 pm

LONDON — Pressure built on Cristiano Ronaldo from his sponsors Thursday after Nike joined EA Sports in expressing its deep concern with the rape allegation facing the soccer star.

The five-time world player of the year has denied the claim. Late Thursday night, he received public backing from his Italian club, Juventus, shortly after Nike issued its statement to The Associated Press.

Nike has had a contract with the 33-year-old Ronaldo, one of the wealthiest and most famous soccer players in the world, since 2003. The latest terms signed in 2016 are worth a reported $1 billion and Ronaldo has suggested that it was a deal “for life.”

But the Beaverton, Oregon-based apparel maker is troubled by the details emerging in a lawsuit filed last week in a Nevada state court by a woman who alleges she was raped by Ronaldo in Las Vegas in 2009.

“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Nike said in an emailed statement to the AP.

Ronaldo wears Nike boots and appears in its advertising.

The Portugal captain is also the face of the EA Sports FIFA video game franchise, appearing on the cover of the 2019 game that was released worldwide last week.

“We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo,” EA Sports told the AP. “We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.”

Whereas other players might be winding down their careers at 33, Ronaldo is still in demand by leading clubs around the world. Ronaldo made the third big transfer of this career in July, leaving Real Madrid after nine years for Juventus, a move that cost the Italian club 112 million euros (then $132 million).

Breaking its silence on the alleged assault, Juventus strongly backed its most expensive star in a Twitter statement.

”Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus,” the Italian league champions said. “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.”

Left off Portugal team

Cristiano Ronaldo has been left off Portugal’s national soccer team squad as he fights rape allegations.

Ronaldo was left off the squad for Portugal’s second game in the UEFA Nations League at Poland on Oct. 11 and a friendly match in Glasgow against Scotland three days later. The Juventus forward also missed Portugal’s first two post-World Cup matches last month, with coach Fernando Santos saying Ronaldo had only just moved to the Italian club and was still settling down there.

Santos used the 33-year-old team captain’s absence last month to try out younger players.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Aviators hit three HRs, beat Fresno

Franklin Barreto, Seth Brown and Corban Joseph each cracked two-run homers Tuesday night, leading the Aviators to an 11-5 Pacific Coast League victory over the Fresno Grizzlies before 4,692 at Chukchansi Park.

Today’s local and national sports

Here’s today’s local and national sports schedule, including television and radio listings.

Rays owner says sharing season with Montreal is best option

Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week the Rays have “broad permission to explore what’s available.” Tampa Bay is averaging 14,546 fans a game, lowest in the American League.

Las Vegas native Rickard savors hometown stop with River Cats

After a whirlwind of events, outfielder Joey Rickard was released by the Baltimore Orioles organization and claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants nearly a week later.