Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has spoken out in defence of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been embroiled in a rape accusation. Speaking to television on the Spanish island of Lanzarote on Saturday, Costa appealed the presumption of innocence, as well as Ronaldo’s successful career.Also Read - VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo's Gesture Towards Airport Staff Proves he Has a Heart Worth Gold
“People need to understand once and for all that there’s one thing that is a presumption of innocence,” Costa said. “It is not enough for someone to be accused of something to be guilty of it.” Also Read - Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Manchester United Star Mason Greenwood Joins GOAT Debate
Costa added: “If there’s something we have proof of is that he is an extraordinary professional, an extraordinary sportsman, an extraordinary footballer, and someone who has honoured and given prestige to Portugal, and certainly what we all wish for is that nothing can ever stain that record of Ronaldo.”
Last week, Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. saying Ronaldo raped her in Las Vegas in 2009. Police have re-opened an investigation. Ronaldo has denied the accusation. Also Read - Lionel Messi Edges Cristiano Ronaldo's Instagram Record With Copa America Post With 19.9 Mn Likes
Ronaldo’s Italian club Juventus sent a statement of support and called him a “great champion,” but his sponsors Nike and video game maker EA Sports have expressed concern about the allegation. Ronaldo is Europe’s all-time leading scorer in international matches. He helped Portugal win the European Championship in 2016.