Ronaldo could lose £1b sponsorship over rape accusations

Published: October 04, 2018 21:01:28 | Updated: October 07, 2018 11:15:18

Cristiano Ronaldo is the footballer with the midas touch and his sporting prowess, star appeal and model looks have already netted him a £350m fortune.

Now one of the star's biggest backers says it is "closely monitoring" claims he raped a former model in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009, according to The Sun.

They are unproven claims the star vehemently denies but they have cast a huge shadow over the on and off-pitch career of the world's most marketable footballer.

EA Sports use Ronaldo as the face of their huge Fifa gaming franchise - with this year’s latest edition featuring the Juve ace on the cover.

But with police in America launching a criminal investigation into the former Real Madrid striker, the gaming giant says it is keeping close tabs on the claims.

An EA spokesperson told The Sun Online: “We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo.

"We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA's values.”

His other current mega endorsement deals include long-term multi-million pound contracts with Nike, nutrition giant Herbalife, Tag Heuer and luggage firm American Tourister.

The 33-year-old was the highest-paid athlete in the world for the second straight year in 2017 pocketing £70m - including £25m in mega licensing deals.

Big name sponsors clearly recognise the value Ronaldo brings to the table which is why Nike signed him up for a lifetime deal at the end of 2016 reportedly worth $1billion (£760m).

The sporting giant has refused to comment on their longstanding relationship with the global star.

The global star's social media posts are credited with making his sponsors more than £700m in 2017 after he posted 580 times over 12 months with a sponsor mention or logo.

The sporting superstar also has his own brand ‘CR7’ - valued at £70m - which now includes growing lines of clothing, fragrance, footwear products and even hotels.

One of Ronaldo’s most unusual partnerships is with Egyptian Steel, a company trying to gain market share in Egypt - a clear sign of his growing global fame.

He has been named world player of the year five times and transferred to Juventus from Real Madrid this summer for £99million.

Ronaldo’s annual salary at Juventus is reported to be £28m, which equates to approximately £530,000 per week.

His record-breaking antics across the European leagues have reinforced claims he is one of the most famous men on the planet and one of the best footballers of all time.

However, with fame come the pitfalls and if convicted of the alleged rape he wouldn't be the first sporting superstar to fall from grace - and potentially lose millions.

Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong was not only dropped by Nike but by almost all his other sponsors following the doping scandal which rocked cycling. He lost a reported £150m.

Boxer Mike Tyson also lost a fortune when Pepsi ditched the heavyweight champ after allegations arose he abused his former wife Robin Givens in 1988.

Soon after Tiger Woods smashed up his wife's car with a golf club in 2009 sponsors including Gillette and Tag Heuer parted company with the ace although Nike stayed loyal.

And when Kobe Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 - his accuser later refused to testify in court and the case was dropped - his sponsors were split.

While McDonald's and Nutella dropped him, other big names - including Nike and Sprite -  stuck with the basketball ace.

And Ronaldo has claimed it is his incredible fame which has made him a target of the rape claims which have made headline around the world.

The Juventus star yesterday hit back at the slurs saying his conscious was clear over the alleged attack on Kathryn Mayorga.

Ronaldo wrote on Twitter: "I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.

"Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense."

He added: "My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations.”

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