Sponsors threaten to dump Ronaldo over rape allegations

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Italian champions Juventus on Thursday said rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo do not change their opinion of their superstar player, but USA sportswear giant Nike said it was "deeply concerned".

One of the wealthiest and most gifted footballers of all time, Ronaldo wears Nike boots and appears in its advertising.

The star denies accusations by former model Kathryn Mayorga that he raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in June 2009 and said his conscience is clear.

It now appears that gaming giant EA Sports, who produce the Federation Internationale de Football Association games, have removed Ronaldo from online promotional images for the game. Ronaldo's life-time deal with the Nike is valued at an estimated one billion dollars.

The top of the Federation Internationale de Football Association 19 section of the EA website prominently showcased Ronaldo wearing the famed black-and-white Juventus jersey until at least Sunday.

On September 20, Juventus shares rose 180 percent to a record level of over 1.80 euros. However, he did play in the Italian league last weekend shortly after news broke about the allegation against him.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus", the Turin giants said via Twitter. The events allegedly dating back to nearly 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion'.

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He was accused of stealing a camera from a woman and of sending threatening text messages to Straight Outta Compton director F. The onetime college football star and "gangsta" rap pioneer eventually lost control of his label in bankruptcy proceedings.

They then shared a video of him with the caption: "Juventus go for goal".

Ronaldo's marketing value, before the rape scandal hit the headlines, was further enhanced by his huge social media presence with 74.5 million fans on Twitter and 134 million Instagram followers.

"My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquility the results of any and all investigations".

Asked about the allegations, Santos said.

"I see him calm in training", he said.

Another sponsor spoke out on Friday: DAZN, the internet sports streaming platform which signed Ronaldo as a global ambassador in August. "I know Cristiano Ronaldo very well and I fully believe his word when he says he would never commit a crime like this".

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously had reported that the woman at the centre of Cristiano Ronaldo's forced assault, Kathryn Mayorga, was close to taking her life after the alleged incident, claims her legal representatives on Wednesday, October 4.