Amid rape case, Ron­aldo asks for space

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Baseball | Soccer -

UDINE, Italy — Cris­tiano Ron­aldo asked his Ju­ven­tus team­mates to leave him alone.

For all that he’s em­broiled in — ac­cused of rape nine years ago — the soc­cer su­per­star wanted some space so he could cel­e­brate his goal on Satur­day all by him­self in front of a TV cam­era.

He leaped into the air with an em­phatic dou­ble fist pump, as he’s of­ten marked his goals, and then let his team­mates con­grat­u­late him.

Ron­aldo’s pow­er­ful, an­gled goal, the sec­ond of the match and his fourth of the season, was met by ap­plause and boos in the Ital­ian league game at the home of Udi­nese. Ron­aldo and Ju­ven­tus fin­ished 2-0 win­ners.

“Ron­aldo had a good game,” Ju­ven­tus coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri said. “He’s been train­ing serenely and tonight he scored an ex­tra­or­di­nary goal.”

Just over a week ago, Kathryn May­orga filed a civil law­suit in the U.S. say­ing she was raped by Ron­aldo in Las Ve­gas in 2009. Po­lice have re-opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ron­aldo has de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion.

Ron­aldo was not avail­able for ques­tions af­ter the match, and Al­le­gri wouldn’t spec­u­late what has been go­ing through Ron­aldo’s mind away from the soc­cer field.

“Off the pitch, I don’t know, be­cause I don’t live with him at home,” Al­le­gri said. “I see him on the pitch and he’s serene. He trains, he plays and he scores goals — that’s the most im­por­tant thing.”

Ron­aldo played last for Ju­ven­tus last week­end in Serie A, but mid­week he missed a Cham­pi­ons League game be­cause of an au­to­matic sus­pen­sion from a red card and was left out of Por­tu­gal’s squad for up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional matches.

Avail­able again for Ju­ven­tus on Satur­day, Ron­aldo’s mother, Maria Do­lores Aveiro, sent her son a mes­sage on In­sta­gram: “Good luck son and for your team be­cause to­gether we are stronger.”

Por­tuguese Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nio Costa, while in Spain, spoke in de­fense of Ron­aldo, ap­peal­ing to the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence, as well as Ron­aldo’s suc­cess­ful ca­reer.

“Peo­ple need to un­der­stand … (the) pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence,” Costa said. “It is not enough for some­one to be ac­cused of some­thing to be guilty of it.

“If there’s some­thing we have proof of is that he is an ex­tra­or­di­nary pro­fes­sional, an ex­tra­or­di­nary sports­man, an ex­tra­or­di­nary foot­baller, and some­one who has hon­ored and given pres­tige to Por­tu­gal, and cer­tainly what we all wish for is that noth­ing can ever stain that record of Ron­aldo.”

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