Cristiano Ronaldo accepts Daily Telegraph libel payout

Image caption,
The newspaper had claimed Ronaldo had put his recovery from injury at risk

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages from the Daily Telegraph at London's High Court.

It claimed in July 2008 that he put an injured ankle at risk by "living it up" at a Hollywood nightclub while a Manchester United player.

The report that he put down crutches to dance with four models caused offence and embarrassment, the court heard.

The paper has accepted the allegations were false and apologised.

In a statement, Ronaldo said he was "delighted" with the outcome.

"I take enormous pride in my professionalism. I treat my training and recovery from injury very seriously and would never have drunk and danced in a nightclub without my crutches," he said.

Champagne claim

Ronaldo's solicitor Allan Dunlavy said the story appeared alongside a photo of the star on crutches in Los Angeles, where he had been nominated as best male international athlete at a sports ceremony.

The newspaper reported that on arrival, Ronaldo "headed straight for" a trendy nightclub and danced with the models before being served "£10,000 worth of Cristal champagne".

It had suggested the events would dismay his then manager at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, Mr Dunlavy told Mrs Justice Sharp that Sir Alex and the club's medical staff had been fully aware that the Portugal international was in Los Angeles on holiday.

"While he [Ronaldo] did attend the nightclub in question, he did not drink any alcohol at all whilst there, nor at any time whilst in Los Angeles. He does not, as a rule, drink alcohol because he takes his health, fitness and recovery from injury very seriously."

Mr Dunlavy added that his client had not put down his crutches but had occupied a private corner of the club with friends, while drinking "non-alcoholic energy drinks".

'Consummate professional'

Sir Alex, who said in a statement he had been prepared to appear as a witness to support Ronaldo, described his former star as "the consummate professional".

The newspaper's solicitor, Helen Morris, said it accepted the allegations were false and ought never to have been published.

"It is therefore happy to set the record straight and to apologise to the claimant."

It is not the first time Ronaldo has successfully pursued a libel case.

In 2008 he accepted undisclosed damages from the Sun, which had claimed he had been fined £8,000 for breaking United's club rules by using a mobile phone during training. On that occasion, he donated the damages to a charity on his home island of Madeira.

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