Cristiano Ronaldo is facing allegations of rape by a former model who accuses the Portuguese superstar of attacking her in his Las Vegas hotel penthouse suite in 2009.
Ronaldo, who now plays for Juventus in Italy's Serie A, rejected the charges as "fake news" during a live chat on Instagram.
"What they said today, fake – fake news," the 33-year-old star of the Portuguese national team said in a post that was later deleted.
Kathryn Mayorga, 34, of Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo, in a 32-page complaint filed last month with a district court in Nevada, of anally raping her on June 13, 2009.
Mayorga alleges in the lawsuit that she was pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement to keep the alleged rape secret and is seeking no less than US$200,000 in penalties and damages.
The complaint was first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel. Lawyers for Ronaldo have reportedly threatened to sue the magazine over the story.
In the suit, Mayorga said she met Ronaldo, who was then 24 years old and about to secure a transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid, on the evening of June 12, 2009 at the Rain Nightclub in the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
It said she accepted an invitation to join Ronaldo and others in his penthouse suite to "enjoy the view of the Las Vegas strip."
She was invited to join guests in a hot tub but she declined because she did not have a bathing suit, the complaint said.
Ronaldo offered her clothing and then followed her into a bathroom where she was going to change clothes, it said.
'No, no, no'
The footballer is said to have entered the room with his penis hanging out of hit shorts. After she refused his demand to perform oral sex and said she wanted to leave, Ronaldo pulled her into a bedroom and anally raped her without a condom while she screamed "no, no, no" and covered her vagina, the complaint said.
"When Cristiano Ronaldo completed the sexual assault of the plaintiff, he allowed her to leave the bedroom stating he was sorry, he was usually a gentleman," it said.
The lawsuit said Mayorga reported the alleged assault to the Las Vegas police the same day and underwent an examination at a local hospital.
It said the assault had left her with "severe emotional and bodily injuries including but not limited to anal contusions, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depression."
It said she developed an alcohol problem and was suicidal.
Under pressure from Ronaldo's "fixers," Mayorga settled the case "in exchange for a payment of US$375,000 and non-disclosure of the sexual assault," the lawsuit said.
It claimed the agreement should be voided because she was "incompetent and lacked the mental capacity to participate in negotiations and settlement of her claims due to the injuries suffered during the initial sexual assault."
The suit also called for the agreement to be dismissed because it amounted to concealment of a crime for which there is no statute of limitations.
The unidentified "fixers" were named as co-defendants in the lawsuit, which also accuses the Juventus forward of violating the 2010 non-disclosure agreement.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Mayorga, who has a degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said she was inspired to come forward in part by the #MeToo movement which has exposed the sexual abuse of women by powerful men.
Ronaldo is a five-time winner of FIFA's men's player of the year award.
The Portuguese striker, who is married and the father of four, left Real Madrid this year to join Juventus for 100 million euros (US$117 million).
Ronaldo won two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns with Real after joining from Manchester United in 2009 for a then world-record fee of £80 million (US$94 million).
- TIMES/AFP/DER SPIEGEL