While Manchester United fans were overjoyed about Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club, and his first start for the Red Devils since the transfer was confirmed, another event took place right after kick-off.
A banner was flown above Old Trafford stadium a few minutes after the match began, reading, “#BelieveKathrynMayorga”. The banner draws to the allegations against Ronaldo about him raping a woman in a Las Vegas Hotel in 2009. Feminist group Level Up were behind the banner being shown above the stadium during the match.
“I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in,” the 36-year-old said on Twitter in 2018.
US prosecutors said that Ronaldo would not face criminal charges since the investigation could not produce enough evidence for the case to go through.
Ronaldo also said to Portuguese television outlet TVI, “2018 was probably my worst year ever, personally speaking. When people question your honour, it hurts, it hurts a lot.”
While the case was originally closed in 2009, it started again in 2018 after Kathryn Mayorga revealed details that she originally withheld, saying she had gained courage to speak out due to the #metoo movement. However, the police were unable to conduct any meaningful investigation about the issue due to several factors. One of them being that the woman refused to identify the person who had committed the crime and the location where the incident took place.
As a result, the case was closed for a second time.