Cristiano Ronaldo: what is the rape allegation against Manchester United player - and who is Kathryn Mayorga?

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United (Photo: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United (Photo: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United (Photo: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images) | Manchester United via Getty Imag
Kathryn Mayorga accused Cristiano Ronaldo of raping her on 12 June 2009 and went on to launch a civil case against him

Cristiano Ronaldo’s much-anticipated interview with Piers Morgan is set to air on Wednesday night (16 November). Excerpts of the Talk TV interview have already caused controversy due to his comments criticising criticising Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo is one of the biggest names in football history, having received accolades during his career including five Ballon d’Or awards, FIFA World Player of the Year, Globe Soccer Awards Best Player of the Year, the Golden Foot and many more.

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The first part of the interview airs at 8pm, while the second of the tell-all interview will air on Thursday evening, and earlier this week Morgan revealed Ronaldo had approached him to conduct the interview.

Among the many topics which could be discussed during the interview are the rape accusation by Kathryn Mayorga, and the civil lawsuit she filed against him.

Ronaldo has denied the accusation and has previously spoken about the claim during TV interviews. But who is Mayorga, when did she accuse Ronaldo of rape and what happened with the civil lawsuit - has it been resolved? This is everything you need to know.

Who is Kathryn Mayorga - and what did she say about Ronaldo?

Kathryn Mayorga is a former school teacher and a model who accused Ronaldo of sexual assault. The two met when she was working as a hostess at a nightclub called Rain in Las Vegas, based at the Palms Casino Resort on 12 June 2009. Ronaldo and Mayorga were pictured together by several paparazzi on the night in question.

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The footballer invited Mayorga to his room at the Palms Place Hotel, which is where Mayorga claims to have been raped - however, Ronaldo’s lawyers stated that the pair had consensual sex.

Palms was the location of the now-closed Rain Nightclub, where football star Ronaldo Cristiano and Kathryn Mayorga met on June 13, 2009 (Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)Palms was the location of the now-closed Rain Nightclub, where football star Ronaldo Cristiano and Kathryn Mayorga met on June 13, 2009 (Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Palms was the location of the now-closed Rain Nightclub, where football star Ronaldo Cristiano and Kathryn Mayorga met on June 13, 2009 (Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The following day on 13 June, Mayorga reported the alleged sexual assault to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, but at the time declined to give either her or Ronaldo’s name, nor where the incident took place. Instead she only revealed that he was a “public figure” and an “athlete”.

She underwent a rape kit examination on 13 June as well at a local hospital. An examination report, seen by German newspaper Der Spiegel, said that Mayorga was prescribed antibiotics for injuries she sustained -  “a circumferential swelling with bruising and a laceration”.

What happened next?

Mayorga hired a lawyer who advised against pressing criminal charges against Ronaldo, opting for an out of court settlement instead. In 2010, Ronaldo and Mayorga’s subsequent legal teams resulted in the two parties reaching a non-disclosure agreement, in which Ronaldo paid $375,000 (roughly £270,000) to Mayorga - in return, she could not publicly discuss the allegations. Ronaldo’s lawyers later said, in 2018, that the non-disclosure agreement was “by no means a confession of guilt”.

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They said: “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 behavioural correction.” The investigation originally closed in 2009, but was reopened once again in 2018 after Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyers said that the out of court settlement was ‘not an admission of guilt'  (Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyers said that the out of court settlement was ‘not an admission of guilt'  (Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyers said that the out of court settlement was ‘not an admission of guilt' (Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images) | Getty Images

What happened in 2017?

The allegations against Ronaldo resurfaced in April 2017, after Der Spiegel reported on both the accusations and the existence of the out of court settlement. At the time Mayorga was anonymous.

The story came about as part of the German newspapers work with Football Leaks, a website which was set up in 2015 and revealed information about football like transfer fees, wages and contracts regarding famous footballers.

Cristiano Ronaldo has always denied the allegations (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)Cristiano Ronaldo has always denied the allegations (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo has always denied the allegations (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images) | Getty Images

At the time, Ronaldo’s lawyers branded the report from Der Spiegel as “journalistic fiction” based on “documents which are unsigned and where the parties are not identified”. It was in September 2018 that Mayorga decided to drop her anonymity and come forward in an interview with Der Spiegel.

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What happened with the civil lawsuit?

After Mayorga went public with her accusations, she hired new lawyers in order to file a civil lawsuit against the footballer. Las Vegas police also confirmed that the criminal investigation was being reopened at her request.

A statement said: “At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description. “As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided.”

Mayorga said that the #MeToo movement gave her the courage to speak out. However, in 2019, prosecutors in Las Vegas confirmed that Ronaldo would not face any criminal charges due to the fact that the allegations against him could not be “proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus looks on during the Series A match between Torino FC and Juventus (Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus looks on during the Series A match between Torino FC and Juventus (Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus looks on during the Series A match between Torino FC and Juventus (Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images) | Getty Images

In 2019 lawyers representing Ronaldo won a US courtroom bid to block Mayorga from digging into the validity of the confidentiality agreement made between them in 2010.

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A judge also recommended that the civil case against the footballer be thrown out, after her lawyers failed to disclose the files that were given to them through Football Leaks.

In 2021, the feminist group Level Up flew a banner which read “Believe Kathryn Mayorga” above Old Trafford during Ronaldo’s second Manchester United debut.

On Twitter, Level Up said: “We flew a plane over the Man United football ground and our message is simple: Believe Kathryn Mayorga. “Let’s say NO to the culture of silence around abuse from the football community.”

Janey Starling, co-director of Level Up, said: “Manchester United has welcomed Cristiano like a hero, and created a culture of silence about the rape allegations made against him. That ends today.”

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Did Mayorga appeal the lawsuit being thrown out?

In June this year the lawsuit was dismissed by US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said Mayorga’s attorney had shown “bad faith conduct” and said the use of “purloined” confidential documents had tainted the case. However, by August it was reported that Mayorga went to court in San Francisco in a bid to appeal the decision to dismiss her case.

What has Cristiano Ronaldo said about the allegations?

In the past, Ronaldo has denied the allegations, stating: “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.” The following year, in 2019, Ronaldo told Portuguese television TVI that 2018 was “probably my worst year ever”. He said: “When people question your honour, it hurts, it hurts a lot.”

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