A US woman has gone public with her claim that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel nine years ago.
Kathryn Mayorga, a 34-year-old Las Vegas native, tells Germany's Der Spiegel magazine she met the Portuguese soccer player in the city's "Rain" nightclub in June 2009.
Later, in his penthouse in the Palms Place Hotel, she claims the player raped her anally, then apologised.
Lawyers for Ronaldo on Friday said they would sue the magazine for publishing “blatantly illegal” accusations.
Ronaldo’s lawyer Christian Schertz said in a statement the report was “an inadmissible reporting of suspicions in the area of privacy”, and that he would seek legal redress for his client from the magazine.
In January 2010, Mayorga and Ronaldo agreed a $375,000 settlement in which she agreed to drop all charges in exchange for the payment. Mayorga, who studied journalism before working as a model, says she signed the settlement out of fear.
“I didn’t want a trial, nobody should know what happened to me,” she told the magazine.
But silence had not helped her process the experience, she said, and she had given up her job as a school teacher.
She hired a new lawyer who questions the legality of the out-of-court settlement. He showed Der Spiegel a preliminary version of a statement about the night, allegedly from Ronaldo. In it he says: "'I took her from behind, the rough way . . . she said 'no', and 'don't do that' several times. Afterwards I apologised."
His admissions vanished from later versions of the statement, the magazine claims.
In 2009, Mayorga worked in “Rain” as a promoter, financing her studies by encouraging guests to have fun and drink more.
“There was champagne but I only drank a bit as I was on a diet,” she said.
Paparazzi pictures from the evening show her and Ronaldo talking and dancing. She didn’t know who he was, she claims, until she read up on him on the internet. They exchanged numbers and she later got a text from him inviting her and a friend to a party in his suite.
He suggested they go swimming in his pool, she says, but while she changed in the bathroom he came in with his penis exposed and asked her to touch it. After asking her for a kiss, she alleges he “touched me all over . . . I pushed him away and again said ‘no’.”
He began to pull off her underwear, she told Der Spiegel, then pinned her down.
“When he was finished he still didn’t want to let me go,” she said. “He looked at me, full of guilt, and started calling me ‘baby’. I can’t remember exactly what he said but he said sorry, asking if I had pain. Then he went down on his knees and said: ‘99 per cent of me is a good guy, I just don’t know about the other one per cent.’”
Her friend, also in the penthouse, said Mayorga emerged from the bathroom “in a complete state, her hair was dishevelled and her make-up smudged”.
She filed a rape report with the police the following day.
After Der Spiegel's first report last year Ronaldo's lawyers threatened to sue the authors for producing "journalistic fiction".
The magazine says it is still waiting. – Additional reporting: Reuters