Cristiano Ronaldo's representatives have strenuously denied claims made in a report by German magazine Der Spiegel that the Real Madrid star paid a woman to cover up an allegation of rape.
Citing documents from an alleged out-of-court settlement, Der Spiegel reported that Ronaldo agreed to pay $375,000 to settle the allegation in 2010, after an incident in Las Vegas the year before – just after the Portuguese moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
According to Der Spiegel, who claim to know the identity of the alleged victim, Ronaldo's lawyer agreed the settlement in January 2010 and in return “The woman would keep her silence regarding events which happened on June 12, 2009, in a luxury hotel in Las Vegas.”
Gestifute, the sports management company founded by Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, dismissed the story as "a piece of journalistic fiction".
In a statement responding to the article, it criticised "a disgusting and outraging" allegation and said Ronaldo will "do everything in his power to react".
The statement read: "Today, the German newspaper Der Spiegel published a long article regarding an alleged accusation of rape that would have been directed at Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, about eight years ago.
"The article is nothing but a piece of journalistic fiction.
"The alleged victim refuses to come forward and confirm the veracity of the accusation.
"The newspaper has based their entire narrative on documents which are unsigned and where the parties are not identified, on emails between lawyers whose content does not concern Cristiano Ronaldo and whose authenticity he cannot verify, and on an alleged letter that is said to have been sent to him by the so-called victim, but was never received by Cristiano."