Cristiano Ronaldo has been left out of Portugal’s squad for two upcoming matches as he fights a rape allegation.
The star footballer will not play for his national team in its second game of the UEFA Nations League in Poland on 11 October.
He will also miss a friendly match in Glasgow against Scotland three days later.
The decision comes days after teacher Kathryn Mayorga, 34, claimed the Juventus forward raped her in June 2009 in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Ronaldo, 33, tweeted on Wednesday that he “firmly” denies the accusation – his first direct denial of the allegations.
“Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star said.
“Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.
“My clear conscious (sic) will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations.”
Portugal coach Fernando Santos said the decision to omit Ronaldo was made with him, the player and the head of the Portuguese soccer federation.
“We agreed the player wouldn’t be available, wouldn’t be an option for selection,” Mr Santos said.
“For the next two squad selections, this one and the one next month, Ronaldo won’t be with us.”
Santos also said he believed Ronaldo’s denials.
A lawsuit has been filed by the woman against Ronaldo, and police in Las Vegas have reopened their investigation.
The lawsuit claims Ms Mayorga was coerced into signing a $375,000 (£332,000) out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.
She wants the agreement to be declared void and said she gained the courage to speak out because of the #MeToo movement.
Her lawyer said on Wednesday that Ms Mayorga wants to avoid the cameras because of her emotional state.
He said since the alleged sexual assault she has suffered from “major” depression and PTSD.
Ronaldo’s lawyers say reporting of the allegations and details of the settlement in the German publication Der Spiegel was “blatantly illegal”.
He missed Portugal’s first two post-World Cup matches last month, as he was still settling in after his move from Real Madrid, Mr Santos said.
From – SkyNews