After making the United States its home away from home the last few summers, Juventus’ place of residence for a couple of weeks in July won’t be in the Eastern time zone — or anything close to it, really. And, according to a report from the New York Times on Wednesday, it has a lot to do with the ongoing investigation into the club’s star player’s rape allegations.
Organizers of a high-profile summer tournament for world soccer’s biggest club teams have decided to keep Juventus and its star Cristiano Ronaldo away from the United States this year, eliminating the risk of the Portuguese star’s being detained by the authorities as part of a rape investigation in Las Vegas.
Juventus has a multiyear agreement to play in the International Champions Cup, which is organized by New York-based Relevent Sports. Ronaldo’s legal troubles played a role in shaping plans for Juventus’s participation, according to people familiar with this summer’s schedule, which will be released next week.
A spokesman for Juventus, which is on course to win an eighth straight Italian league championship, said “going east” to Asia was normal after spending recent preseasons in the United States.
Juventus has spent the past two preseason tours in the United States, with their summer camp setup in New York or the Philadelphia area. And while it’s true that “going east” is somewhat normal for Juve — they went to both Australia and Asia in the summer of 2016, while Inter and other Italian clubs have going to China as part of the ICC — they weren’t caught up in having a player with an ongoing legal situation on their roster.
Ronaldo, as expected, as continuously denied the allegations brought forward by American Kathryn Mayorga, who said that she was raped by Ronaldo in Las Vegas a decade ago in 2009. Juventus has stood by its star and club-record signing from this past summer as well.
The last update regarding the case came two months ago in early-January when the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department asked for Ronaldo’s DNA, a relatively logical step in the investigation.
On March 12, the same day that Ronaldo led Juventus to a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid that allowed the Turin giants to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals, ESPN came out with a lengthy story centered around why the Mayorga’s lawsuit has stalled ever since news first came out back in September.
While the criminal investigation slogs on, Mayorga’s civil suit against Ronaldo has stalled as well. That is primarily because Ronaldo has still not officially been served notice of the lawsuit. Serving a lawsuit to someone who lives abroad is a tricky process that requires following rules set forth in international treaties, and Ronaldo has not authorized his American attorney to accept on his behalf ... Stovall and his associates have been unsuccessful serving Ronaldo in Italy. The initial 120-day period expired at the beginning of February, and Stovall has filed a motion asking the court to grant an extension and to allow service by leaving the paperwork at Juventus’ training center or via public notification.