- Cristiano Ronaldo has been excluded from the Portugal national soccer team days after allegations surfaced that the soccer star allegedly raped a 34-year-old woman in 2009.
- Ronaldo will play no part in the UEFA Nations League match against Poland or the international friendly against Scotland this month.
- The news follows a statement sent to Business Insider that says the Portugal Football Federation stands in “total solidarity” with Ronaldo over the soccer player’s rape accusations.
- It is unclear if the exclusion is related to the allegations.
- Read all of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 soccer season right here.
The Portugal Football Federation says it is standing in “total solidarity” with its captain Cristiano Ronaldo over the rape accusations being made against the soccer player, despite banishing him from the squad for its upcoming fixtures.
Kathryn Mayorga, a 34-year-old American woman, told German publication Der Spiegel last week that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas penthouse in 2009.
Ronaldo “firmly” denied the allegation on Twitter, and said that he refuses “to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.”
The story “disheartened” Save the Children, a charity that Ronaldo works closely with, but Fernando Gomes, the president of the Portugal Football Federation, has expressed “total solidarity” with the team’s star player.
In a statement to Portuguese news agency LUSA, which was forwarded to Business Insider and translated from Portuguese, Gomes said: “In my name and in the name of the Portuguese Football Federation, I express total solidarity with Cristiano Ronaldo, in a circumstance where his good name and reputation are at risk.
“I believe in the statements he issued yesterday, not only because I defend innocence as a basic principle of the rule of law, but also because I have known Ronaldo for many years and I am a witness to his good character.”
Despite this “total solidarity,” Ronaldo has been excluded from the latest Portugal squad and will play no part in the team’s UEFA Nations League A match against Poland on October 11 or in the international friendly against Scotland on October 14. The exclusion is a surprise because Ronaldo is not injured and his recent playing form has been good.
According to Portuguese newspaper Record, Ronaldo spoke to Gomes and Portugal head coach Fernando Santos about the decision. “It was understood that it was better for the Juventus FC player not to be included,” Record reports.
It is unclear if Ronaldo’s exclusion is related to the rape accusations, according to ESPN, who further reports that Santos said “nothing will prevent Ronaldo from contributing to the team” in the future.
Ronaldo is Portugal’s most influential player – the captain, the most-capped athlete with 154 appearances, and the nation’s top scorer of all-time with 85 goals.
The statement from Fernando Gomes was translated from Portuguese into English in-house by Business Insider’s Ruqayyah Moynihan and Sabrina Cesar.
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