Korean fan confronts Ronaldo in Sweden over no-show

SEOUL • An angry South Korean fan flew to Sweden to confront Cristiano Ronaldo over the Juventus star's sitting out a friendly in Seoul, the latest in a bizarre row that has prompted a police investigation.

In an 11-minute clip posted on Monday on his YouTube channel that has racked up over 3 million views, Kwak Ji-hyuk was seen approaching the Portuguese footballer at a hotel in Stockholm.

As Ronaldo appears in the hotel's lobby, where Juventus were staying for last week's International Champions Cup final, Kwak shouts in English, "Why didn't you play in Korea?", only to be ignored.

Ronaldo remained on the bench throughout the exhibition game against a K-League selection on July 26, enraging fans who threatened a class-action lawsuit and prompting a police probe into alleged fraud.

Kwak, who describes himself as a former die-hard fan of Ronaldo, films himself making several more attempts to grab the star's attention, including waving a sign written in Portuguese.

"Even when I put the sign right in front of his eyes, I was utterly ignored," he says in the video.

The row over the no-show has spiralled into a blame game.

The K-League accused Juventus of deception, a claim that was quickly rejected by the Italian club, even though it was reported Ronaldo was contracted to play at least 45 minutes in Seoul.

TOTAL DISREGARD

Even when I put the sign (in Portuguese) right in front of his eyes, I was utterly ignored.

KWAK JI-HYUK, South Korean football fan, who tried to get an answer from Cristiano Ronaldo in a hotel lobby in Stockholm over his failure to play even a minute in Juventus' pre-season match in Seoul.

A police investigation is under way into alleged fraud after a criminal complaint was filed against Ronaldo, Juventus and the South Korean agency that organised the match.

The former Real Madrid player faces more legal matters as his lawyers try to push a lawsuit by a Nevada woman, who alleges he raped her in 2009, out of a US court and into private arbitration.

Court documents filed on Aug 8 in Las Vegas asked a US judge to declare that a 2010 confidentiality agreement and US$375,000 (S$521,000) hush-money settlement with Ronaldo's accuser, Kathryn Mayorga, are still in effect.

Such a ruling would stop the public proceeding and invoke a provision that allows out-of-court mediation.

On July 22, Clark County district attorney Steve Wolfson said Ronaldo would not face criminal charges because there was not enough evidence to take the case to trial.

But, on Aug 2, US district judge Jennifer Dorsey ruled that the 34-year-old has lost a bid for "dismissal or complete secrecy" in the federal lawsuit, meaning that his case will not be heard in secret or thrown out.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2019, with the headline 'Korean fan confronts Ronaldo in Sweden over no-show'. Print Edition | Subscribe