Report: Juve opts for Asian pre-season amid Ronaldo US rape claims

According to a report, Juventus' pre-season tour in Asia eliminates the risk of the Portuguese star being detained by the US authorities over rape allegations.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo back in training for Portugal.   -  AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus will play the pre-season 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 organisers 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 programme to be unveiled on March 27.

Juventus' games will “mostly likely be in China and Singapore”, where they will be joined by 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.

Contacted by AFP, a spokeswoman for Juventus said that “going east to Asia was normal after spending recent preseasons in the United States”.

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

The team are on track for an eighth consecutive Italian league title, while his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid sent it through to the Champions League quarterfinals.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, rejoined his Portugal team-mates this week ahead of Euro 2020 qualifying, as it begins its title defence, following a nine-month absence from the national team.