Published time: 23 Mar, 2019 12:27
Italian giants Juventus have denied they are steering clear of the US for a pre-season tour this summer due to fears Cristiano Ronaldo could be detained amid the rape claims against him.
Reports suggested that Juventus were set to appear in the International Champions Cup in Asia, rather than the US, as organizers wanted them to avoid potential issues with Ronaldo playing Stateside.Also on rt.com Ronaldo & Juventus 'to steer clear of US tour' amid rape probe arrest fears
Juve's star man is facing rape allegations in the US over claims he sexually assaulted Kathryn Mayorga in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 and later paid her $375,000 in hush money over the incident.
Ronaldo, 34, vehemently denies the allegations.
Juventus have similarly rejected claims that the Ronaldo rape probe was the reason they will not be playing in the US this summer, despite having done so in recent seasons.
Instead, the decision to head east instead of west – likely to China and Singapore – was taken “several months” ago and is seen as a "normal change," according to a Press Association report.
Ronaldo himself commands a huge following in Asia, having embarked on a personal ’CR7’ tour to China after the World Cup last summer.
He has continued to hit the heights since joining Juventus from Real Madrid for in excess of $100 million last year, top-scoring for the team in the league and recently netting an incredible hat-trick to see them past Atletico Madrid and into the Champions league quarter-finals.Also on rt.com 'A living football god': Reaction as Ronaldo takes center stage with Champions League hat-trick
After the rape claims against the forward broke in September, Juventus offered a message of support, saying: “Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus.
“The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion.”Also on rt.com Juventus criticized for tweets backing ‘great champion’ Ronaldo as player fights rape claims
The club were criticized by some online, with prominent UK pundit Gary Lineker saying: “Whatever the legal outcome, this is awful from Juventus."