Cristiano Ronaldo Again Not Chosen For Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t appeared for Portugal since the World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s all-time leader in caps and goals, was again not chosen to represent his country in international fixtures this fall, with Portugal set to face Poland and Scotland later this month.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos confirmed the selection on Thursday in the wake of rape allegations against Ronaldo. 

Ronaldo last played for Portugal in a loss to Uruguay in the World Cup Round of 16. He did not play in his country’s friendly with Croatia (a 1-1 draw) or the Nations League match with Italy (a 1-0 victory) in September.

The Juventus striker will miss a Nations League match at Poland and a trip to Glasgow to face Scotland in a friendly on Oct. 11 and 14, respectively. Santos also said Ronaldo is unlikely to be chosen for November fixtures against Italy and Poland, both in the Nations League. 

Santos did not explain not choosing his star player. In September he suggested it was to give Ronaldo time to acclimate to Serie A with his new club, but he was a bit coy in a news conference on Thursday.

"(Federation) president Fernando Gomes and I spoke with Cristiano Ronaldo and we considered it best for the player not to be included in this and November's call-ups," Santos said.

"In the future, nothing is going to stop Ronaldo from being in the squad. He has always been available to represent Portugal."

Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of rape by Kathryn Mayorga, who recently filed a civil lawsuit over the alleged incident that occurred in a Las Vegas penthouse suite in 2009. Ronaldo, who at that time had just joined Real Madrid from Manchester United, has denied all accusations, telling his 75 million Twitter followers he is innocent. 

Mayorga said after the alleged rape she received little help from local authorities and medical workers, so she ended up signing an out-of-court settlement worth $375,000 with Ronaldo for both parties to drop the issue. The settlement, about which we won’t get into detail here, included Ronaldo admitting that Mayorga said “no” and “stop” several times during the encounter, which is the opposite of consent. 

Mayorga is now saying she was given poor counsel in 2009 and was not in the right state of mind to make judgments on settlements and is seeking further damages.

Sports Illustrated does a stellar job of summing up all the legal implications of the case and how it might move forward here, and we highly suggest you read through it to grasp the full nature of these accusations and how they came to light.

As with many things in the world (the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation comes to mind), most people have probably already made up their mind over whether or not Ronaldo is guilty or innocent. Ronaldo fans will say he’s innocent (Santos echoed these sentiments in his news conference Thursday); Ronaldo haters, of which there are plenty, will assume he’s guilty. 

As the U.S. Senate is currently grappling with, it’s hard to balance believing survivors with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. That’s why it’s important to allow all survivors’ claims to be investigated as fully as possible, and to recognize that a survivor isn’t necessarily lying even if not enough corroborating evidence is found. Crimes of this nature are notoriously difficult to investigate, especially years after the fact. 

Ronaldo isn’t necessarily being left off the Portugal squad because of these rape accusations, nor is he quite getting the Lionel Messi treatment with Argentina. But Ronaldo does have legal issues he must sort out, which could cost him millions in endorsement deals pending investigations. 

Will we see Ronaldo, 33, appear again for Portugal? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. 

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