Former Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo accepted “substantial” libel damages over a false Daily Mirror allegation that he went on a “bender” at a Hollywood nightclub.
Ronaldo, who does not drink alcohol, also received an apology at the High Court in London yesterday over claims published in July last year.
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Ronald Thwaites QC, acting for Ronaldo, told Justice Eady the newspaper reported that, despite being in recovery from an ankle operation as a result of which he was on crutches, he had “gone on a bender” in Los Angeles.
The article, entitled “Ron The Lash” was published with a photograph of Ronaldo on crutches in Los Angeles where he had travelled to attend a sports award ceremony.
It reported that the star had splashed out £10,000 at a nightclub on champagne and vodka for friends and models, having himself already drunk four glasses of red wine earlier in the evening over a meal.
Thwaites added: “The report said that later on in the nightclub he drank a number of vodka and sodas before switching to bottles of champagne.
“It described how one clubber claimed to have seen him throw his crutches down on the floor and try to dance on his uninjured foot.”
He added: “In fact, the truth is that the events did not happen as reported.
“Although the claimant was in LA and he did attend the nightclub in question, he did not drink any alcohol at all whilst there.
“He does not drink alcohol because he takes his health, fitness and recovery from injury very seriously. Nor did he throw his crutches to the floor and try to dance.
“He sat in a private corner under the care and supervision of the respected Portuguese national team physiotherapist, Antonio Gaspar.”
The QC said the defendant, publishers Mirror Group Newspapers, “now accepts that its allegations were untrue”.
It had agreed “to pay substantial damages to the claimant for the libel and to reimburse the majority of his reasonable legal costs”.
He said Ronaldo “considers that he has been fully vindicated and is happy to bring these proceedings to a close”.
Zoe Norden, solicitor for MGN, told the judge: “Through me the defendant offers its apologies to the claimant for the distress, embarrassment and offence caused by this article.
“The defendant accepts that the allegations are false and ought never to have been published. It is therefore happy to set the record straight and to apologise to the claimant.”
In a statement issued through law firm Schillings, Ronaldo said: “I felt I had no choice to begin and pursue these legal proceedings.
“I would like to thank Sir Alex Ferguson and the others who were ready to appear as witnesses along with me at the trial which had been due to start today.”