In 15 years Nike have created more than 70 different styles of boots branded with Cristiano Ronaldo’s name that have sold millions worldwide and resulted in a life contract worth $1billion.
But last night the US sportswear giants appeared to be questioning the long-term deal following rape allegations against Ronaldo.
Nike said they were ‘deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations’ facing the Juventus star after a woman filed a lawsuit alleging she was raped by Ronaldo in 2009. Ronaldo denies the claims.
The Portuguese icon, who has been a face of the brand since 2003, has a deal worth £770m.
But that appeared to be at risk following the first statement from Nike since the allegations were made.
Nike said: ‘We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation.’
Juventus’ share price dropped five per cent amid the rape allegations.
Las Vegas police announced they would reopen the investigation into a claim of rape by Kathryn Mayorga, who alleges that Ronaldo forced her to have sex with him at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.
Nike are the first of Ronaldo’s commercial partners to intervene since the allegations against him emerged last weekend.
The 33-year-old has major endorsement deals with Nike, Tag Heuer, Herbalife and American Tourister. EA Sports have used Ronaldo as the face of their long-running video game FIFA 19 but the gaming firm have joined Nike in expressing their concern.
EA Sports said: ‘We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.’
Juventus, who signed Ronaldo for £99.2m in the summer, tweeted: ‘Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus.
The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion.’
Ronaldo, who led his country to the Euro 2016 title, was yesterday left out of the Portugal squad for internationals against Poland and Scotland.
Head coach Fernando Santos said: ‘In the future, nothing prevents Cristiano from giving his contribution to the national team.’
Santos said the decision was taken after a three-way conversation between him, Ronaldo and the head of the Portuguese FA.
He refused to give details of the conversation, nor would he comment on Ronaldo’s state of mind, saying the information was private.
Ronaldo dismissed Mayorga’s claim as ‘fake news’ and reasserted this in a Twitter message posted on Wednesday afternoon.
He wrote: ‘I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.
‘Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.’