Nike “deeply concerned” by “disturbing” Ronaldo rape claims

Nike has told the Associated Press that it’s “deeply concerned” by rape allegations facing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The emailed statement Thursday from the media department for the U.S. sportswear firm follows the filing of a lawsuit in Las Vegas by a woman who alleges that she was raped by Ronaldo in 2009. In the email, Nike says “we are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Ronaldo has denied “accusations being issued against” him and called rape an “abominable crime.” “I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” he tweeted Wednesday. 

Nike has had a contract with Ronaldo, 33, one of the wealthiest and most famous soccer players in the world, since 2003. A Portuguese citizen, he went from the U.K’s Manchester United to Spain’s Real Madrid in 2009 for a then-record sum of 94 million euros, or about $130 million. He now plays for the Italian club Juventus.

The woman’s lawsuit, filed last week, seeks unspecified damages of at least $200,000. The suit alleges Ronaldo raped the woman when she was 24, in his penthouse suite at a Las Vegas hotel, and hired a team of what the document called “fixers” to shape a monetary settlement, obstruct a police criminal investigation and trick her into taking $375,000 to keep quiet.

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