Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa is speaking out on behalf of Cristiano Ronaldo after rape accusations against the soccer star have resurfaced.
On Saturday, Costa told viewers that Ronaldo deserved a presumption of innocence and that he did not need the accusations to stain his reputation.
“People need to understand one and for all that there’s one thing that is presumption of innocence,” Costa said. “It is not enough for someone to be accused of something to be guilty of it.”
Costa continued, calling Ronaldo “an extraordinary sportsman, an extraordinary footballer, and someone who has honored and given prestige to Portugal.”
Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit last week alleging that Ronaldo raped her nine years ago. Her lawsuit prompted police to reopen the investigation.
Ronaldo has denied the allegations, first on Instagram live by taking a play out of the American politicians’ play book and saying the story was “fake news.”
He followed that up with a statement on Twitter that said he would with “with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations.”
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.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 3, 2018
Ronaldo’s club team Juventus was also firm in their support of the superstar.
“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,” the team said in a statement on Twitter.
They followed that up with a retweet of their women’s team.
definitely a good time to promote your women's team pic.twitter.com/gvBuD2LPBU
— ty (@finalthrd) October 4, 2018
Not everyone took the Juventus route and jumped in automatically to defend Ronaldo.
Nike, Ronaldo’s lifetime sponsor, said it was “deeply concerned” by the allegations and that they would continue to closely monitor the situation as it unfolded.
EA Sports, the maker of the video game FIFA, issued a similar statement to CNN Sports. The video game makers said they too would monitor the allegations against Ronaldo as “expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.”
Juventus was widely criticized for their statement, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to start Ronaldo. Their share price, however, have fallen in the wake of lawsuit with CNN reporting that it fell “ nearly 10% on Friday” and CBS Sports reporting a near 20% drop after the the allegations surfaced.
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