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Cristiano Ronaldo on rape allegation: Vegas incident was 'consensual in nature'

Cristiano Ronaldo has "vehemently" denied a rape allegation, saying the relations he had with his accuser were "consensual in nature".

American teacher Kathryn Mayorga claims the Portuguese football star raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in June 2009, saying she was paid $375,000 (£275,000) in a later out-of-court settlement.

Ronaldo initially described the allegation made last week as "fake news", and has now said in a statement that "what happened in 2009 in Las Vegas was consensual in nature".

The statement, issued through lawyer Peter Christiansen, says Ronaldo "does not deny" reaching a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Ms Mayorga in 2010.

But it adds that the NDA is "by no means a confession of guilt" and Ronaldo "merely followed the advice of his advisers in order to put an end to the outrageous accusations made against him" to avoid attempts to "destroy a reputation built thanks to hard work, athletic ability and behavioural correction".

It claims documents cited in media reports about the athlete's encounter in 2009 were stolen as part of a Europe-wide attack on businesses, including law firms, in 2015.

Mr Christiansen says the documents were then "altered and/or completely fabricated" then published "irresponsibly" by a media outlet.

A lawsuit filed on 27 September in Nevada state court seeks to void the NDA that Ms Mayorga's lawyers say she signed while accepting $375,000 (£284,000) to keep quiet.

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

Wednesday's statement from Ronaldo's lawyer said the player "expresses full confidence that the truth will prevail".

Last week, the 33-year-old said he had a "clear conscience" and called rape "an abominable crime".

Ronaldo's club, Juventus, has suffered from the allegations, with the Italian club's share price closing almost 10% down last week as markets reacted.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri said Ronaldo was "doing well" despite the allegation against him.

"I've known him for three months, but I can say that in his 15 years of his career he has shown great professionalism and seriousness both on and off the field," Allegri said.

One of Ronaldo's major sponsors, Nike, said it is "deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations".

Last week, Portugal left the player out of its national squad for two upcoming matches.

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