In light of the new lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo pertaining to an incident in 2009 in which Kathryn Mayorga says Ronaldo raped her, the Portuguese forward’s lawyer has released a statement contesting the accuracy of the documents produced in the Der Spiegel report that broke the story.
Ronaldo’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen, released the statement on the website of the sports agency that represents Ronaldo. In it, Christiansen states Ronaldo’s unequivocal claim to his innocence:
Cristiano Ronaldo vehemently denies all the accusations in this civil action, in consistency with what he has done in the last 9 years. [...] Cristiano Ronaldo’s position has always been, and continues to be, that what happened in 2009 in Las Vegas was completely consensual.
Christiansen goes on to explain how the documents of the 2010 settlement between Ronaldo and Mayorga—a settlement that Christiansen concedes is in fact real, something Ronaldo’s intermediaries wouldn’t admit to back when Der Spiegel first published the story of the settlement’s existence in 2017—presumably got out in the first place: a 2015 hack of “dozens of entities (including law firms)” from around Europe. As Der Spiegel’s reporting has always outlined, the magazine originally obtained the settlement documents through the soccer-focused hacker organization, Football Leaks.
Crucially, Ronaldo’s lawyer contests that “significant parts of [the settlement documents] were altered and/or completely fabricated.” At another point, Christiansen says “The documents that allegedly contain statements by Mr. Ronaldo and were reproduced in the media are pure inventions.” Probably the most damning piece of evidence in Mayorga’s case is a document that purportedly depicts Ronaldo’s response to an internal questionnaire drawn up by his lawyers during the settlement talks nearly a decade ago, in which Ronaldo appears to admit that he knew the sex between he and Mayorga wasn’t consensual: “[S]he kept saying ‘no.’ ‘Don’t do it.’ ‘I’m not like the others.’ I apologized afterwards.” Presumably this is one of the documents Ronaldo is claiming had been fabricated in some way. As Antje Windmann, a Der Spiegel reporter who has worked on this story since its inception, told us in a Q&A last week, the magazine was very meticulous about vetting the documents, and specifically the aforementioned one about Ronaldo’s understanding of Mayorga’s consent.
Update [7:11 p.m. Eastern]: Der Spiegel has given Deadspin their response to Ronaldo’s statement. The magazine says the statement “presents the usual path that Mr. Ronaldo and his lawyers have taken in the past when unsuccessfully fighting our investigative work,” and that they stand by their reporting. Their response goes on to say that they fact-checked all of the hundreds of documents they received in the reporting of the story, had their legal team vet the final report, and that they “have no reason to believe that those documents are not authentic.”
On the matter of the questionnaire in which Ronaldo appears to admit that Mayorga did not consent to sex with him, Der Spiegel notes that the statements attributed to Ronaldo therein are consistent with Mayorga’s version of events, which would speak to the document’s accuracy. They also mention that they offered Ronaldo a chance to respond to the contentions in their reporting before they published it, but Ronaldo refused. And that Ronaldo has a history of calling their reporting into question—the original report of the settlement that Ronaldo’s lawyers called “pure journalistic fiction” until they today admitted that the settlement was real, the magazine’s report on Ronaldo’s tax fraud that his lawyers characterized as “unreliable” but have since admitted to and been fined by the Spanish government for—only for Der Spiegel’s reporting to be ultimately vindicated.
At the end of Ronaldo’s lawyer’s statement, Christiansen provides what Ronaldo says was his motivation for reaching the settlement that paid Mayorga $375,000 in exchange for her silence on the matter: “What happened was simply that Cristiano Ronaldo merely followed the advice of his advisors in order to put an end to the outrageous accusations made against him, in order precisely to avoid attempts, such as those we are now witnessing, to destroy a reputation built thanks to hard work, athletic ability and behavioral correction.” The statement closes with this:
Cristiano Ronaldo has mandated his lawyers in the United States and Europe to deal with all legal aspects and expresses full confidence that the truth will prevail, despite the corruption of counterinformation, and in which the laws of Nevada will be enforced and respected.
Along with a civil suit from Mayorga, Ronaldo is also subject to a newly reopened criminal investigation into the alleged rape on the part of the Las Vegas police department.