Ronaldo left out of Portugal squad amid rape allegations
National team coach Fernando Santos has opted not to pick the Juventus forward, who is at the center of rape allegations after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
According to reports in Portugal, the forward spoke with Santos and Portuguese football federation boss Fernando Gomes, with the trio deciding it would be best to omit the Juventus star from the squad for the upcoming games in October and November.
It was not indicated whether the decision was linked to the current allegations against the player.
Ronaldo missed Portugal’s previous two internationals in September, with that decision being taken to allow him time to settle at his new club after making a €100 million move to Juventus from Real Madrid.
At a news conference on Thursday, Portugal coach Santos said Ronaldo had pledged continued commitment to the team, and that "in the future, nothing will prevent Ronaldo from contributing."
The Juve star is accused of raping American woman Kathryn Mayorga, 34, in a Las Vegas hotel room after a night spent partying in 2009.
According to Mayorga, the Portuguese ace pulled her into a bedroom and anally raped her while she was changing, as she shouted "no, no, no".
The case filed against the player also alleges that he used a team of ‘fixers’ to obstruct a criminal investigation into the allegations and coerced the victim into accepting $375,000 hush money.
Police in Las Vegas have confirmed they have reopened an investigation into the case.
Ronaldo issued a statement on Wednesday in which he denied the claims, saying: "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."
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.— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 3, 2018
Ronaldo has made 154 appearances for his country and is the nation’s all-time top scorer on 84 goals.
His absence from the national team means he will miss the UEFA Nations League game against Poland on October 1 and a friendly against Scotland in Glasgow three days later.
Portugal are set to face Italy and Poland in November, and should Ronaldo miss those games, the next time he could feature for the national team would be March of next year.