The rape claim that could lose Ron­aldo ev­ery­thing

Foot­ball le­gend’s rep­u­ta­tion – and free­dom – are un­der threat

Heat (UK) - - This Week | We’re Obsessed With... - CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

He has the world at his feet. But Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s glit­ter­ing foot­ball ca­reer – not to men­tion his £350mil­lion for­tune and happy fam­ily life – was hang­ing in the bal­ance last week, fol­low­ing re­ports that he raped a former ho­tel host­ess in 2009. Dis­turbingly, Kathryn May­orga claimed she kept the al­leged as­sault quiet after be­ing paid £288,000 by the striker – but de­cided to go pub­lic after suf­fer­ing years of men­tal tor­ment as a re­sult.

In an in­ter­view with Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel, Kathryn, 34, as­serted that the striker raped her in his ho­tel room in Las Ve­gas, and had told her, “Nine­ty­nine per cent of me is a good guy, I just don’t know about the other one per cent.” She said she re­ported the at­tack to Ne­vada po­lice im­me­di­ately, but didn’t name her as­sailant. Then, a year later, she ac­cepted “hush money” from his lawyers be­cause, she says, she was “ter­ri­fied” and “didn’t want my name out there”.

Kathryn has since been at­tempt­ing to over­turn the set­tle­ment, say­ing she was in­spired to speak out by the #Metoo move­ment, and was seek­ing da­m­ages from Ron­aldo. In re­sponse, the foot­baller, 33, went on In­sta­gram to brand the claims “fake, fake news”. His lawyers also took le­gal ac­tion against the mag­a­zine, call­ing the re­ports, “One of the most se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of per­sonal rights in re­cent years.”

Now, de­spite strongly deny­ing the al­le­ga­tions, the re­ports have put Ron­aldo’s gilded life in se­ri­ous jeop­ardy. There is no time limit on rape pros­e­cu­tions in Ne­vada, mean­ing he could face a pos­si­ble life sen­tence in prison. Then, there’s the ef­fect the claims will have on his rep­u­ta­tion as the great­est foot­baller in the world, as well as his re­la­tion­ship with model Ge­orgina Ro­dríguez, mother of his one-yearold daugh­ter, Alana. The striker is also fa­ther to Cris­tiano Ju­nior, eight, and one-year-old twins Eva Maria and Ma­teo, be­lieved to be via sur­ro­gate. In the af­ter­math of the re­ports, the foot­ball player – who of­ten posts pic­tures with his fam­ily on so­cial me­dia – said of his ac­cusers, “They want to pro­mote [them­selves] by us­ing my name.”

What­ever the out­come, the claims are out there and it re­mains to be seen if Ron­aldo’s rep­u­ta­tion is dam­aged for­ever.

Kathryn May­orga pic­tured with Ron­aldo on the night of the al­leged as­sault

With his girl­friend Ge­orgina Ro­dríguez and his kids

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