Real Madrid have announced they are taking legal action against a Portuguese newspaper after they claimed that the Bernabeu club had told Cristiano Ronaldo to pay off Kathryn Mayorga, who accuses the five-time Ballon d'Or winner of sexually assaulting her in 2009.
Correio da Manha, a tabloid in Ronaldo's homeland, reported in a front-page story on Wednesday that Madrid had pushed their former star into settling out of court with Mayorga as they were concerned about the image of the player they had just spent a world-record fee of £80m on.
The newspaper claims that "one of the principal arguments that Ronaldo will use to justify the signing of the agreement is that he was pressured by Real Madrid."
Madrid, however, have flatly denied those claims in a statement and revealed they are taking legal action against the publication:
"Real Madrid C.F. communicates that it has undertaken legal action against the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Mancha for the publication of information that is rotundly false and that intends to seriously damage the image of our club.
"Real Madrid had no knowledge of the occurrences that said newspaper refers to relative to the player Cristiano Ronaldo and, as such, could not have done anything about something that it absolutely did not know anything about.
"Real Madrid has asked for a complete correction on the part of the aforementioned publication."
On Wednesday, Ronaldo's new lawyer, Peter S. Christiansen, claimed that Der Spiegel's story about the Juventus forward was "pure inventions" and an "international defamation campaign based on stolen and easily manipulated digital documents" that had been obtained by hackers.
For their part, Der Spiegel responded by pointing out that Ronaldo's lawyers described a 2017 story about the settlement agreement between Ms Mayorga and Ronaldo as "journalistic fiction" - Ronaldo now admits that he agreed to a settlement, but vehemently denies rape allegations.
"Before publishing our story about the rape accusations, we gave Mr. Ronaldo and his lawyers the opportunity to respond to the allegations," Der Spiegel's statement read.
"They could have disputed the facts that we presented to them. They did not do that. In no way did they claim that parts of our information were 'pure inventions'. One of his lawyers threatened to sue us for publishing because he said that we infringed Mr. Ronaldo’s personal rights. So far, we have not received anything in this regard."
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