Massimiliano Allegri says that Cristiano Ronaldo will be available to play for Juventus this weekend, but the club's shares have fallen sharply as the fallout continues following rape allegations made against the Portuguese star.
Kathryn Mayorga alleges that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. She claims that she was paid to hold her silence at the time, but has now brought a lawsuit against the 33-year-old footballer, who denies the accusations.
Lawyer for Ronaldo accuser: “The #MeToo movement & the women who have stood up & disclosed sexual assaults publicly has given Catherine a lot of courage & has, to a great extent, enabled her to come forward, & to file her civil complaint and also to go to the police department”— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) October 4, 2018
Despite the growing media storm surrounding him, Ronaldo could start for Juventus against Udinese on Saturday, according to the team's manager.
"Cristiano’s doing well. 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 on Friday, quoted by AP News. "In regard to tomorrow, he is ready to return to action."
Juventus shares down almost 20% this week as pressure has grown on their most expensive signing, Cristiano Ronaldo, over the rape lawsuit pic.twitter.com/CdCAoq0IMs— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) October 5, 2018
The Italian champions came in for scathing criticism on Thursday after an ill-advised statement which appeared to downplay the severity of Ronaldo's alleged offence because it took place nearly a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Electronic Arts (EA) have removed images of Ronaldo from their website and social media channels while the investigation is ongoing.
Ronaldo is the face of EA's FIFA series, the latest edition of which was released on September 28. Photos of him have been removed from EA's Facebook and Twitter pages, to be replaced by more generic images.
American sportswear company Nike, which sponsors Ronaldo in a deal worth £768m, said in a statement that they were "deeply concerned" by the allegations and would continue to monitor the situation.