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March 22, 2019

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Juve opts for Asian preseason

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus will play the preseason International Champions Cup in Asia and not in the United States amid the Portugal star’s rape investigation there, the New York Times has reported.

Most of the matches take place in the United States but organizers are planning to play Juventus’ elsewhere amid Ronaldo’s legal case, eliminating the risk of the Portuguese star being detained by authorities in the US as part of their investigations, the newspaper reported.

Juventus has confirmed its participation in the event with the official program to be unveiled on March 27.

Juventus’ games will “mostly likely be in China and Singapore,” where it will be joined by English Premier League teams Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, the New York Times said.

Ronaldo, 34, has denied allegations made by former model Kathryn Mayorga that he sexually assaulted her in Las Vegas in 2009.

Las Vegas police asked Ronaldo to submit a DNA sample in January as part of their investigation into rape allegations made against him.

When contacted a spokeswoman for Juventus said that “going east to Asia was normal after spending recent preseasons in the US.”

Juventus signed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for 100 million euros (US$117 million) last summer from Real Madrid and pays him a 31-million-euro annual salary.

The team is on track for an eighth consecutive Italian Serie A title, while his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid sent the team through to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Juventus faces Ajax next month for a place in the UCL semifinals.

Ronaldo, incidentally, has been fined 20,000 euros by UEFA for making a provocative gesture after the victory over Atletico.

UEFA said its disciplinary panel found the Juventus star guilty of improper conduct.

Ronaldo was fined the same sum imposed on Atletico coach Diego Simeone for the same gesture during the round of 16, first-leg game in Spain.

“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” Simeone said after the match.


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