No sport holds more global influence than soccer. Inside the soccer world no one is bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese player currently plays for the Italian club Juventus F.C.
Known for his intricate dribbling, big personality, and impressive physique, Ronaldo is one of the best players ever to grace the soccer pitch. His global influence is enormous — his 144 million followers are the most on Instagram.
Despite Ronaldo’s seemingly never-ending growth in popularity, the soccer star has fallen into some bad light. He is currently facing a sexual assault charge stemming from 2009. The accusation comes from Kathryn Mayorga, who claims the Portuguese superstar took advantage of her in Las Vegas. Mayorga alleges that she was given $375,000 in exchange for cooperation in the form of silence.
This is not the first time Cristiano Ronaldo has faced a criminal charge. In 2017, Ronaldo was accused of tax evasion by the Spanish government when he was playing for Real Madrid. In June 2018, Ronaldo settled the accusation by paying a $21.8 million fine. Now with a more socially serious accusation, Ronaldo faces an entirely different situation.
With the global influence that Ronaldo has, including a lifetime Nike deal reportedly worth $1 billion, his case extends to a large population. Nike has expressed deep concerns about the accusation and is closely monitoring the situation. Other companies connected to the soccer star have had rather contrasting reactions.
Ronaldo was scheduled to be the cover athlete of the video game “FIFA 19,” but after the accusations surfaced, Ronaldo was wiped from the game’s cover. On the other hand, Ronaldo’s current club has supported its new acquisition after spending about $100 million on the transfer last summer. The club claims Ronaldo has acted with “professionalism and dedication” and will remain a “great champion”.
Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see how the case develops. With sexual assault cases of the past rising to the surface, how will the public react to a beloved idol being accused of such? Bill Cosby, who had an established repertoire and devoted fan base, fell into a very polarized popularity state after his heinous actions came to light. Ronaldo, an arguably larger presence on a global scale, is under scrutiny and will continue to be until a resolution is found.