22:26 GMT10 May 2021
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    The Portuguese striker has vehemently denied the allegation he raped a woman back in 2009 after a night out in Las Vegas, claiming to have a “clear” conscience.

    Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been left out of the squad of the Portugal national team amid the ongoing rape scandal, with coach Fernando Santos announcing the decision on Thursday.

    "We agreed the player wouldn't be available, wouldn't be an option for selection. For the next two squad selections, this one and the one next month, Ronaldo won't be with us,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.

    READ MORE: Ronaldo's Lawyers Note Rape Allegations Could Lead Him to Life in Jail — Reports

    Santos later explained the decision was taken after a three-way conversation between himself, Ronaldo and the head of the country’s national football federation, but refused to state if the decision was made as a result of the rape allegations that have been hurled at the Portuguese star by Kathryn Mayorga.

    However, Santos suggested Ronaldo will eventually represent his country again, without elaborating.

    "In the future, nothing prevents Cristiano from giving his contribution to the national team,” he added.

    Ronaldo missed Portugal’s competitive fixture against Italy in September, opting to focus on club football with new side Juventus. 

    Fans have taken to social media to react to the decision, suggesting he has simply opted not to play small international games, insisting his absence from the squad sheet is not due to the rape scandal. 

    Portugal will next face Poland in their UEFA Nations League campaign, before playing Scotland in a friendly international away from home.

    The squad reached the round of 16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, getting knocked out of the tournament by Uruguay, with PSG forward Edinson Cavani scoring a brace.

    READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo Takes to Twitter to ‘Firmly' Deny Rape Allegations


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    rape, football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Juventus, Fernando Santos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Italy, Las Vegas, Portugal
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