Embattled Ronaldo presents selection headache for Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to play for Juventus against Udinese on Saturday, despite rape claims made against him, although his coach Massimiliano Allegri admits he may be tempted to rest the embattled star.

Embattled Ronaldo presents selection headache for Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during Juventus's September 29th match vs Napoli. Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
“I could go with a front three of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo, or alternatively one of them could be rested,” said Allegri, the coach of the Italian champions.
“Ronaldo is doing well, he is ready to play. His professionalism and his composure on and off the pitch are not in question.”
US police said on Monday they had re-opened an investigation into accusations by former American model Kathryn Mayorga that the Portuguese superstar raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in June 2009.
Ronaldo, 33, has strenuously denied the accusations.
“Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in,” he said.
However, there have been off-field consequences to the controversy. On Friday, shares in Juventus lost almost 10 percent of their value on the Milan stock exchange, closing down 9.92% at 1.19 euros. Just two weeks ago, shares in the Italian champions rose 180 percent to a record level of over 1.80 euros.
Furthermore, Nike has said it is “deeply concerned” by the allegations against their star client whose relationship with the US sportswear giant is rumoured to be worth $1 billion (€869 million).
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” a Nike spokesman told AFP.
According to Forbes magazine, Ronaldo is one of only three athletes to have been given a lifetime deal with Nike, joining an elite club that also includes NBA icons LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
EA Sports, for whom Ronaldo is a leading figure in their phenomenally successful FIFA video game market, also described the allegations as “concerning”.
'Years of trauma'
“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,” the group said in a statement.
Juventus have so far stood behind Ronaldo, who moved to Juventus in the summer in a €100 million ($115 million) deal from Real Madrid. However, the Italian club's reaction to the issue has angered some fans.
The Portuguese striker “has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus”, the club wrote on Twitter on Thursday, breaking their silence over the allegations.
“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.”
Juventus later posted a video on YouTube and Twitter showing Ronaldo training, with the caption: “Juventus go for goal. Cristiano Ronaldo finds the target!”
The defending Serie A champions' tweets were widely panned on social media as “shockingly dismissive and insensitive”.
“You'd expect a more nuanced and sensitive approach from such a mega organisation,” said one tweet.
Mayorga's attorney Leslie Stovall told reporters his client had suffered years of trauma as a result of the alleged attack and found the courage to speak out thanks to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault at the hands of powerful men.
Mayorga claims she was pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement in 2010 to keep the alleged rape secret and is seeking at least $200,000 in penalties and damages.


Juventus’ Ronaldo issues comic book where he is the superhero

Cristiano Ronaldo may be known more for his superhuman scoring skills but the Portuguese star has now created a comic book series where he turns into a superhero.

Juventus' Ronaldo issues comic book where he is the superhero
Cristiano Ronaldo is now a superhero. Photo: Striker Force 7 Instagram page
The 34-year-old on Saturday released his 'Striker Force 7' series, with the Juventus forward posting a link on Twitter to an animated show trailer and a website with availability to purchase comic books.
The cartoon depicts Ronaldo transforming into a superhero, doing battle with other animated characters such as robots and aliens.
“In the same way football connects cultures and people around the world, I believe great animated characters and heroes can do the same and that's why I am excited to bring together these passions of football and superheroes through this project and share it with my fans,” wrote Ronaldo.
The release coincides with Free Comic Book Day which aims to encourage youngsters reading.
Ronaldo's latest business venture comes after he opened a hair transplant clinic in Madrid in March.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner on Friday overtook Argentina rival Lionel Messi by scoring his 601st career club goal in a 1-1 draw for the Serie A champions against Torino.