La Liga - Ronaldo wins libel payout
Cristiano Ronaldo has won substantial damages from the Daily Telegraph after settling a libel case over false claims that he was putting an injured ankle at risk by partying in a Los Angeles nightclub while a Manchester United player.
The July 2008 story entitled 'Ronaldo back in the limelight' alleged that the player had arrived in LA for an awards ceremony but "headed straight for" a Hollywood nightclub where he threw his crutches to one side in order to dance with four models before they were served with "£10,000 worth of Cristal champagne".
The Portuguese star's solicitor Allan Dunlavy successfully argued that the false accusations caused embarrassment, offence and distress to the player, and that he was right to be concerned.
"The truth is that these events did not happen and the claimant did not behave unprofessionally," Dunlavy said.
"The claimant was in Los Angeles, having gone there on holiday in the knowledge and with the advance permission of his club, his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, his surgeon and his physio, and while he did attend the nightclub in question, he did not drink any alcohol at all whilst there, nor at any time whilst in Los Angeles.
"He does not, as a rule, drink alcohol because he takes his health, fitness and recovery from injury very seriously.
"Nor did he put his crutches down to take to the dance floor despite the risk to his injured ankle.
"Instead, he sat in a private corner as arranged in advance, along with friends who had travelled to Los Angeles with him, resting his foot as advised and drinking non-alcoholic energy drinks at all times under the care and supervision of the respected Portuguese national team physio Antonio Gaspar, who had also travelled to Los Angeles at the request of the claimant and with the agreement of Manchester United."
The newspaper's solicitor Helen Morris confirmed that her client accepted the allegations were false, and had agreed to pay substantial damages as well as all legal costs, with a scheduled trial being called off while the deal was agreed.
"I am delighted with this outcome. I take enormous pride in my professionalism," said Ronaldo.
"I treat my training and recovery from injury very seriously and would never have drunk and danced in a nightclub without my crutches as the Daily Telegraph falsely claimed.
"I felt I had no choice but to begin and pursue these legal proceedings.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane and the others who were ready to appear as witnesses at the trial which had been due to start today."
Ferguson commented in a statement: "The article was entirely false. Cristiano is the consummate professional and he takes his health and fitness very seriously.
"He is one of the best players I have ever worked with. I was ready and willing to appear as a witness and I am delighted that he has resolved this issue successfully."
A statement issued on behalf of Keane said: "The article was false and misleading in every respect, notably by suggesting that I had criticised Cristiano.
"Cristiano is a great football player and is very professional. I am happy to see the record set straight."