PARIS (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal life is being impacted by the rape allegation against him, the soccer star said in an interview with France Football magazine.
Excerpts from the interview were distributed Monday, with a full story expected to run in the French weekly magazine on Tuesday.
“Of course this story is interfering in my life,” said the 33-year-old Ronaldo, who has denied any wrongdoing. “I have a partner, four children, an aging mother, sisters, a brother, a family I’m very close to. Not to mention my reputation, which is of somebody who is exemplary.”
Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit last month in Nevada claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police also reopened an investigation at her request.
Ronaldo, who plays for Italian club Juventus and Portugal’s national soccer team, has continued to play soccer amid the allegation. He has scored four goals in four Italian league matches since being accused of rape.
“I explained everything to my partner,” Ronaldo said. “My son, Cristiano Jr., is too young to understand it. I feel the worst for my mother and sisters. They’re stunned by it all but, at the same time, very angry. This is the first time that I’ve seen them in this state.”
Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the offseason for a Serie A record 112 million euros (then $131.5 million). He had spent nine years at Madrid, becoming the Spanish club’s all-time leading scorer with 451 goals in 438 matches, and helping the team win four Champions Leagues titles.
“Imagine what it can represent when someone says you’re a rapist, or that you have this or that,” Ronaldo said. “I know who I am and what I’ve done. The truth will come out in the light of day.
“And those people who criticize me or who expose my life today, who are turning it into a circus, those people will see.”
Last month, Ronaldo finished second to Luka Modric for FIFA’s best player award. The Ballon d’Or, a separate award for the world’s best player which is given out by France Football, will be handed out on Dec. 3 in Paris with Ronaldo among the candidates.
“Yes, I think I deserve the Ballon d’Or this year,” Ronaldo said. “I dream of winning the Ballon d’Or for the sixth time and in that case I would surpass Lionel Messi.
“But I don’t control the vote, just my performances.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports