Kathryn Mayorga

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Ronaldo announces Portugal return; Expects to be cleared in rape case

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Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the fold for Portugal in 2019, hoping to help the side to the first UEFA Nations League Final.

Ronaldo, 33, sat out Portugal’s six post-World Cup matches as Fernando Santos’ Seleção das Quinas went 3W-3D in six matches versus Italy, Poland, Croatia, and Scotland.

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But he’s settled with his new club Juventus and ready to return to Santos’ side.

“It was agreed that I would not be in the games of the first half of the season,” he said, translated by BeIn Sport. “I am 33 years old, I had just moved from country to country, working methods, team-mates, professional and personal routines.”

It was a great year for Ronaldo off the field, with a third-straight Champions League win at Real Madrid before a World Cup Round of 16 exit yielded to a big money move to Serie A. Ronaldo has 15 goals and 8 assists in 24 appearances for Juventus.

But a lawsuit from American woman Kathryn Mayorga brought to light 2009 rape allegations and a settlement and non-disclosure agreement between the alleged victim and attacker.

Ronaldo has consistently denied the allegations, and used a Monday interview in his home nation of Portugal to express expectations that he’d soon be cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter. Der Spiegel claimed Ronaldo-signed documents admitting that Mayorga said “no” multiple times during an incident he claims was consensual.

Ronaldo may be tiring as Juve go on record march

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Cristiano Ronaldo is helping Juventus break records but it could be taking a toll on the Portugal star.

Ronaldo has started all but one of Juve’s 23 games this season, having missed only the first Champions League match against Young Boys through suspension following his first-ever red card in the competition.

The 33-year-old forward has scored 12 goals since leaving Real Madrid in the offseason, despite being the subject of a rape allegation in the United States.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in September claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. The Juve player has denied any wrongdoing.

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Ronaldo’s form in front of goal has dipped in recent games, failing to score in open play in four matches although he did convert a penalty in the Turin derby on Dec. 15.

He went close on several occasions in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Roma and was denied by goalkeeper Robin Olsen. Ronaldo also produced some trademark fancy footwork to set up a goal for Douglas Costa that was ruled out following a video review.

However, the Portugal great looked tired at times and Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he will give the five-time World Player of the Year a rest by sitting out one of the upcoming matches before the winter break, against Atalanta or Sampdoria.

Juve can afford to sideline him after the victory over Roma clinched the unofficial winter title with two matches to go before the halfway point of the season is reached.

Allegri’s side, seemingly unstoppable as it seeks an eighth successive Serie A title, has an eight-point lead over second-placed Napoli and a 16-point advantage over Inter Milan in third.

Juve has won 16 of 17 league matches, dropping points only in a surprise draw against Genoa.

The club’s haul of 49 points has broken its own Italian record and set a record for the top five leagues in Europe.

Still, Juve appears not to have hit top gear. It is traditionally stronger in the second half of the season and appeared to be conserving energy in its past three matches, winning each 1-0.

MISFIRING FORWARDS

Napoli’s top strikers have been misfiring.

Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens have seven Serie A goals apiece this season but neither has scored in five league matches since a 5-1 win over Empoli on Nov. 2.

Both hit the woodwork in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Spal when defender Raul Albiol was on target.

Another Napoli forward, Jose Callejon, has failed to score this season in 20 matches in all competitions.

Mertens was the club’s top marksman last term with 18 league goals.

PIATEK POWER

Genoa forward Krzysztof Piatek has regained his scoring touch.

He netted nine goals in his opening seven league matches, plus four in his first game for the club in the Italian Cup, but the Poland international then failed to hit the target in five games before breaking his drought last month.

Piatek struck again in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Atalanta to take his tally to six in as many matches in all competitions. However, he was dismayed that another effort was given as a Rafael Toloi own goal.

“I am very happy with the great Genoa victory,” he wrote on Instagram. “But I celebrated less because as soon I got to the locker room I heard the news that my first goal was an own goal. I feel that it is in every respect a double and that Serie A should go back on its decision.”

Piatek tops the scoring charts with 13 league goals, two more than Ronaldo. No player in Europe’s top leagues has netted more domestically.

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Attorney: Ronaldo rape report documents altered, fabricated

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo’s new Las Vegas lawyer says claims that the soccer star raped a woman are “complete fabrications” and the encounter was consensual.

Attorney Peter S. Christiansen on Wednesday issued a statement that doesn’t deny Ronaldo and the woman reached a non-disclosure agreement in 2010.

The statement declared that documents cited in media reports about Ronaldo’s Las Vegas hotel penthouse encounter in 2009 with Kathryn Mayorga were altered before being “irresponsibly published.”

[ MORE: 1 year on from USMNT’s dark day ] 

Mayorga’s attorneys did not immediately respond to messages.

A lawsuit filed Sept. 27 in Nevada state court seeks to void the non-disclosure agreement that Mayorga’s attorneys say she signed while accepting $375,000 to keep quiet.

Las Vegas police say they have reopened a sexual assault investigation of the encounter between Ronaldo and Mayorga.

The Associated Press does not generally name people who say they are victims of sex crimes but Mayorga has given her consent through her lawyers to make her name public.

Juventus releases statement in support of Cristiano Ronaldo

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Juventus has released a strong statement of support in response to the rape allegations against star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

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The Serie A giants laud Ronaldo for his professionalism and dedication, while saying the 2009 allegations “do not change this opinion, which is shared by everyone who has come in contact with this great champion.”

That’s an extremely firm backing of Ronaldo despite detailed allegations brought by Kathryn Mayorga of the United States.

Ronaldo has strongly refuted her story as “fake news” while also calling rape “abominable.”

At the risk of editorializing too much on a very sensitive story, a person can both be very professional and dedicated at work and be not great away from work. Just saying, Juve.