Gary Lineker today slammed Cristiano Ronaldo’s club Juventus and agreed with accusations that they ‘don’t care’ about rape allegations because ‘he’s a good player’.
The Portuguese star’s Italian team have finally addressed the allegation by Kathryn Mayorga that he attacked her in a Las Vegas penthouse suite in 2009.
But in speaking out for the first time Juventus’ tweet has put the striker, 33, at the centre of yet another row.
The club’s Twitter account said last night: ‘Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone.
‘The events allegedly dating back to almost ten years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion.’
But Gary Lineker was furious and said: ‘Whatever the legal outcome, this is awful from Juventus’.
Juventus shares have dropped ten per cent today in the aftermath of Ronaldo’s sponsors expressing concern about the rape lawsuit.
lona Burton responded by saying: ‘They’re saying that even if he is a rapist, he’s a good player so it doesn’t really matter. As Gary said, that’s awful whether he’s guilty or not’.
The former England and Spurs striker replied: ‘Exactly’.
Some believed that Mr Lineker has gone too far with @Steven9BHA saying: ‘Why because they’re defending a player that hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything yet?’
Chris Tatums said: ‘Has he been convicted of the crime he allegedly did ???? No they are backing him as an employee nothing wrong with that at all’.
Ronaldo has been rocked by Miss Mayorga’s allegations as she revealed he gave her a £290,000 payout in 2010. She wants their agreement struck out so she can take legal action.
Last night Nike said it is ‘deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations’ facing the footballer.
The statement from the US sportswear firm came after the alleged victim filed a lawsuit in Las Vegas alleging she was raped by the Portuguese player in 2009.
In the email, Nike said: ‘We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation.’
Ronaldo, who denies the rape claim, signed a lifetime contract with Nike worth in excess of $1 billion (£770 million) in 2016 – only the third sportsman to sign such a deal.
He says he has a ‘clear conscience’ and said rape was an ‘abominable crime that goes against everything that I am’.
He said in a statement: ‘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 (sic) will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations.’
Miss Mayorga’s lawyer said she is ‘determined to follow through’ on her allegations, adding that she ‘wants justice’ and is prepared to face down intimidation.
Her legal team plan to start releasing documents about the case early next week. The documents will include the medical records of the alleged rape and the nondisclosure agreement Miss Mayorga signed for £270,000 hush money.
Ronaldo, 33, who is worth an estimated £350million and earned £71million last year, was not named in Portugal’s squad for upcoming friendlies against Poland and Scotland.
Although team coach Fernando Santos did not offer an explanation yesterday, he said nothing would prevent Ronaldo’s future involvement.
Miss Mayorga, 34, claims that Ronaldo raped her on June 13, 2009 at the Palms Casino in his penthouse suite.
She says she remained quiet until now because of the nondisclosure agreement. But in August she and her lawyers gave a dossier of evidence to detectives in Las Vegas, who have reopened the investigation. At a press conference in the US city, attorney Les Stovall said Miss Mayorga has twice spoken to investigators in the sex crimes unit in the past month.
Mr Stovall said: ‘She made the decision to do this, she was determined to follow through on this.’
Asked what former teacher Miss Mayorga wants, he said: ‘She wants justice, of course’, adding that she is in ‘active therapy’ to deal with any backlash by the public.
Mr Stovall said he thought Las Vegas police retained the DNA samples taken the day after the alleged rape – which could include Ronaldo’s DNA.