21:13 GMT11 April 2021
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    Real Madrid announced this week that it's taking legal action against a Portuguese newspaper that reported the football club forced star Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo to pay off a woman accusing him of rape.

    In a press release issued on Thursday, the popular club stated that it would be filing a suit against Portuguese outlet Correio da Manhã over an article that was released on Wednesday, stressing that the story included "outright false information" meant to "seriously damage the image of our club."

    "Real Madrid had no knowledge of any of the information referred to by the newspaper relating to the player Cristiano Ronaldo, and, therefore, the club could not exercise any action on a matter which it had absolutely no knowledge," the statement reads.

    "Real Madrid has demanded a total rectification by the aforementioned media."

    Citing unnamed sources, Correio da Manhã's Wednesday article alleges that Real Madrid pressured Ronaldo into reaching an out-of-court settlement with accuser Kathryn Mayorga for $375,000 in 2010, according to The Guardian. The report also indicated that Ronaldo was against the settlement, as he said he was innocent. At the time, Ronaldo was in the process of leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid.

    The reported settlement came a year after Mayorga was allegedly raped by Ronaldo in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. In exchange for the hefty settlement, Mayorga was reportedly held to a nondisclosure agreement, which she now claims she was coerced into signing. The story on the alleged rape broke in September after the German news outlet Der Spiegel published Mayorga's allegations.

    In early October, Ronaldo took to Twitter to offer his formal rejection of the accusations, stressing that "rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in."

    ​The response came days after Mayora filed a civil lawsuit against the footballer, requesting "general damages, special damages, punitive damages and special relief, each in excess of $50,000, along with interest, attorney fees and court costs."

    Though Las Vegas police did initially investigate a complaint regarding the alleged 2009 assault, they ultimately backed off after the victim failed to provide sufficient details for further investigation of the matter. Authorities have since reopened the case at Mayorga's request.

    As for Ronaldo, despite his rejection of the allegations, his sponsors have started to keep a close eye on the investigation, and some, like EA Sports, the developer and publisher of the FIFA video games, have begun to distance themselves somewhat from the player.


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