Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus will not travel to the US for the pre-season International Champions Cup in the summer, avoiding fears the star forward could be arrested over rape claims in the country.
Organizers of the tournament – which brings together some of Europe’s top teams in a series of pre-season friendlies around the world – have reportedly ensured that Juventus’ games are played in Asia, rather than the US, where they appeared three times last summer.
The New York Times reports that the Italian giants will likely be based in China and Singapore, along with English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Ronaldo is being investigated by Las Vegas police over claims he raped US woman Kathryn Mayorga in a hotel room in the gambling resort in 2009, later allegedly paying her $375,000 in hush money.
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Vegas police reopened the case last year after German magazine Der Spiegel said it had leaked documents related to the claims.
Ronaldo, 34, has vehemently denied the allegations of rape, saying that any encounter was consensual.
Legal representatives for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner have said that documents cited by some media outlets are “fabrications.”
Ronaldo was asked to submit a DNA sample earlier this year as part of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigation, and it appears that any potential risk of detention in the US – as well as the additional scrutiny that would inevitably accompany such a trip – has now been circumvented by Juventus not traveling there. (RT)