MILAN, Italy — Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to play for Juventus against Udinese on Saturday, despite rape claims made against him, although his coach Massimiliano Allegri admits he may be tempted to rest the embattled star.
“I could go with a front three of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo, or alternatively one of them could be rested,” said Allegri, the coach of the Italian champions.
“Ronaldo is doing well and he is ready to play. His professionalism and his composure on and off the pitch are not in question.”
American police officials said Monday they had re-opened an investigation into accusations by former American model Kathryn Mayorga that the Portuguese superstar raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in June 2009.
Ronaldo, 33, has strenuously denied the accusations.
“Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in,” he said.
However, there have been off-field consequences to the controversy.
On Friday, shares in Juventus lost almost 10 percent of their value on the Milan stock exchange, closing down 9.92 percent at 1.19 euros.
Just two weeks ago, shares in the Italian champions rose 180 percent to a record level of over 1.80 euros.
Furthermore, Nike has said it is “deeply concerned” by the allegations against their star client whose relationship with the US sportswear giant is rumored to be worth $1 billion.
“We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” a Nike spokesman told AFP.
According to Forbes magazine, Ronaldo is one of only three athletes to have been given a lifetime deal with Nike, joining an elite club that also includes NBA icons LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
EA Sports, for whom Ronaldo is a leading figure in their phenomenally successful FIFA video game market, also described the allegations as “concerning.”