Cristiano Ronaldo has told Portuguese television that ‘2018 was the most difficult year on a personal level’ after he was confronted by historic accusations of rape.
Ronaldo was the subject of a criminal probe in Nevada after former model Kathryn Mayorga went public in September with claims she was sexually assaulted by the footballer in 2009 in a Las Vegas hotel room.
The Juventus star was told in July this year that he will not face charges after police failed to find enough evidence to prosecute, though he is still caught up in an ongoing civil suit which his lawyers are seeking to dismiss.
He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) told Portuguese TV on Tuesday that ‘2018 was the most difficult year on a personal level’ after Kathryn Mayorga (right) accused him of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel suite in 2009
‘When people question your honour, it hurts,’ he said on Tuesday. ‘It hurts a lot mainly because I have a big family, a wife and an intelligent child who understands a lot of things.
‘This is a case I’m not comfortable expressing myself on. But once again, my innocence has been proven. It makes me proud,’ he added.
American model-turned-teacher Mayorga claimed the football star raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 after the pair met on a night out and she agreed to go back to his hotel room.
While police failed to find enough evidence to prosecute Ronaldo, Mayorga is pressing ahead with a civil case which seeks to nullify a non-disclosure agreement she signed with the athlete in 2010.
Police announced they will not press criminal charges against Ronaldo (pictured with Mayorga on the night in question) in July, but he is still caught up in a civil lawsuit
She claims his legal team exploited her vulnerable mental state in order to get her to sign the document.
In court papers filed last week, Ronaldo’s legal team acknowledged for the first time that Mayorga was paid $375,000 at the time she first made the accusations to police in order ‘to maintain the confidentiality of their dispute.’
However, they note that the payment in no way acknowledges guilt, and that in fact ‘the [agreement] made clear Mr. Ronaldo disputed [Mayorga’s] allegations and in no way conceded she was injured.
‘To the contrary, the [agreement] stated in no uncertain terms that Mr. Ronaldo was agreeing to pay [Mayorga] a sum of money in order to maintain the confidentiality of their dispute.’
Ronaldo’s lawyers argue that the previous agreement and Nevada’s statue of limitations make Mayorga’s lawsuit null and void.
They also say she has yet to present any concrete evidence that she ‘lacked mental capacity’ when she signed the NDA.
Last October Ronaldo said: ‘I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything I am and believe in.’
His mother Dolores has stuck by Ronaldo throughout the months-long investigation, saying in February that she had ‘confidence in my son when it comes to what happened’.
Cristiano Ronaldo with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, who has backed him over the rape claims, in Madrid earlier this year
Mother and son: Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro (they are pictured together in 2016) stood by her footballer son during the criminal investigation
The mother-of-four also hit out at Ronaldo’s American accuser, saying she ‘didn’t go to his hotel room to play cards’.
Ronaldo’s girlfriend, 25-year-old Spanish model Georgina Rodriguez, also stood by him over the claims.
The civil lawsuit, in which Mayorga sought more than $200,000 in damages, has been moved to federal court.
Police could not conduct ‘any meaningful investigation’ at the time because Mayorga declined to say who assaulted her or where it occurred, U.S. prosecutors said.
As a result, detectives were ‘unable to search for and impound vital forensic evidence,’ and video showing Ronaldo and Mayorga together was lost, they added.
Mayorga contacted police in August of last year to ask that the case be reopened, at which point she named Ronaldo as the alleged assailant.
Ronaldo, pictured left with his mother when he played for Manchester United in 2009, and right playing for Juventus, always denied the claims
Her lawyers have said she was inspired to speak out and make her claim public by the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.
In January, a Spanish court handed Ronaldo a suspended two-year prison sentence for committing tax fraud while he was at Real Madrid.
This was immediately reduced to a fine of 365,000 euros ($410,000), on top of another penalty of 3.2million euros ($3.6 million).
Ronaldo left Real Madrid last summer after nine seasons with the club, joining Italian champions Juventus.
While in Spain he became Real Madrid’s highest ever goalscorer, netting 451 times after joining from Manchester United for a then-world record £80million in 2009.
He helped Real win three consecutive Champions League titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Ronaldo is also Portugal’s most-capped player, with 158 appearances, and record goalscorer, with 88.