Milna: US sportswear giant Nike says it is “deeply concerned” by rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo and shares in Italian champions Juventus fell over five per cent on the Italian stock exchange on Friday.
Ronaldo’s coach at Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri, said the striker is “doing well” and is “ready to play” when the Turin giants travel to Udinese in Serie A on Saturday.
But the player’s relationship with Nike, which is rumoured to be worth $1 billion dollars, is under scrutiny after police in Las Vegas announced this week they were reopening an investigation into allegations made by a former model, Kathryn Mayorga, relating to an incident in 2009.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” a Nike spokesman told AFP.
According to Forbes magazine, Ronaldo is one of only three athletes to have been given a lifetime deal with Nike, joining an elite club that also includes NBA icons LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
EA Sports, for whom Ronaldo is a leading figure in their phenomenally successful Fifa video game market, also described the allegations as “concerning”.
“We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values,” the group said in a statement.
Ronaldo’s move from Real Madrid to Juventus in the summer gave the Italian champions a huge boost, both on and off the field, as they continue their elusive bid for a first Champions League title since 1996. On September 20, shares rose 180 per cent to a record level of over 1.80 euros.
But on Friday over five per cent was wiped off the value of their shares in morning trading on the Milan stock exchange. At midday they were worth 1.25 euros a share.
Juventus have so far stood behind Ronaldo, but the Italian club’s reaction to the issue has angered some fans.
In his prematch press conference on Friday, Allegri said: “I see Ronaldo calm, he is ready to play. His professionalism and his composure on and off the pitch are not in question.”
Ronaldo has vehemently denied the rape accusations.
Portugal said on Thursday Ronaldo will play no part in the country’s next four internationals, but national coach Fernando Santos gave him his backing.
Asked about the allegations, Santos said. “I know Cristiano Ronaldo very well and I fully believe his word when he says he would never commit a crime like this.”