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What happened to Cristiano Ronaldo's rape case? Here's what you should know

Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegations
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Manchester United has brought back attention to allegations of rape against the Portuguese forward from 2009.

Ronaldo has denied the claims, and publicly addressed them on UK television in 2019 when he appeared on Piers Morgan's Life Stories.

He told Morgan: "It makes you feel so bad... The news, they speak about Cristiano Ronaldo, this and that. You listen to your kids coming down the stairs and you change the channel because I was embarrassed. I feel embarrassed."

Here's what we know about the story.

Why was Cristiano Ronaldo accused of rape?

On Friday June 12, 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo met Kathryn Mayorga in a nightclub of Palms Casino resort in Las Vegas. They went back to Ronaldo’s penthouse in Hotel Palms Place, and it is there that Mayorga claims Ronaldo raped her. Ronaldo says they had consensual sex.

He was a Manchester United player at the time, but was on the verge of signing for Real Madrid.

How did the story come out?

In April 2017, German newspaper Der Spiegel (opens in new tab)revealed both the allegation of rape against Ronaldo (opens in new tab) by Mayorga – then anonymous – as well as the existence of an out-of-court settlement between the two parties. This non-disclosure agreement, dating from January 2010, was a payment of $375,000 to Mayorga, providing she did not go public with the allegation.

This report came as part of Der Spiegel’s work with Football Leaks, which since 2015 has revealed thousands of documents relating to football – detailing previously secret deals and transactions, many of which relate to reducing tax payments from players and agents.

Ronaldo’s representatives initially claimed that the story was a "journalistic fiction" based "on documents which are unsigned and where the parties are not identified". The paper later published the signed documents (opens in new tab), as well as leaked text messages between Ronaldo and his lawyer.

Who is Kathryn Mayorga?

Mayorga decided to go public with her identity in September 2018 (opens in new tab), saying she had been inspired by the Me Too movement.

She initially reported a rape to Las Vegas Police Department on June 13, 2009 – the day after she had met Ronaldo in the nightclub and the alleged incident took place. She was visited by police, and underwent an examination in hospital that noted swelling, bruising and laceration on her body. She received antibiotics.

However, she did not disclose Ronaldo’s identity to police at the time, and they closed the criminal case. It was not reopened until 2018.

What has Ronaldo previously said about the allegations?

Ronaldo has always denied the allegations, arguing that the two had consensual sex. When Der Spiegel first reported the story in 2017, his lawyer responded to journalists with a statement saying: “We categorically reject the accusations raised in your questions.”

Back in 2009, Mayorga opened an initial civil case against Ronaldo, resulting in the 2010 payment of $375,000 and the non-disclosure agreement. 

Documents revealed by Football Leaks claim that in September 2009, a questionnaire was submitted by Ronaldo's own legal representatives to the player, asking him to detail events of the night in question (opens in new tab). Several versions of the questionnaire, also leaked, exist. In an early version, it appears that Ronaldo – who is named only as ‘X’ in the document - explains: "She said no and stop several times." Further to that, it states: "But she kept saying 'No.' 'Don't do it.' 'I'm not like the others.' I apologised afterwards."

It details that (opens in new tab): "I entered her from behind. It was rude. We didn't change position. 5/7 minutes. She said that she didn't want to, but she made herself available." And also recollects that: "She didn't complain about it being brutal. She complained that I forced her. She didn't say anything about wanting to go to the police."

In 2018, however, Ronaldo's lawyers claimed this document was "completely fabricated".

Is a criminal case against him ongoing?

No. Having reopened it in 2018, in July 2019, the relevant US authorities announced they had decided not to press ahead with prosecution against Ronaldo (opens in new tab). A statement from Las Vegas prosecutors said: "Based upon a review of information at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

However, a new civil case against Ronaldo is ongoing. Mayorga filed a suit to the State Court in 2018 which was moved to Federal Court in 2019. No date has been set in court yet, and the case balances on the claim that Mayorga was not in a fit mental state to sign the non-disclosure agreement in 2010. Reports suggest that the claims in this law suit amount to more than £56 million.

Civil suits have a lower burden of evidence needed to be successful – operating roughly on ‘more probable than not’ lines rather than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

The civil suit aims to overturn the initial settlement, which Mayorga’s lawyers claims to be void, and seek further damages. As part of the case, Ronaldo’s lawyers submitted a motion accepting the existence of the 2010 settlement for the first time.

Was Ronaldo found guilty or innocent?

As no criminal case ever came to a conclusion, he has never been found either guilty or acquitted of any allegations.

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Conor Pope
Conor Pope

Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.


He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.