March 30, 2023
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Privacy, they say, is not an entitlement but a requirement for every human being, but for people who are in the spotlight, especially footballers, every move they make usually ends up being broadcast in the media.

Everything about footballers often ends up in the media space, where they are heavily scrutinized, and the media often takes a special interest in criminal and civil cases that often involve sportsmen.

Tax evasion, marriage and relationship issues, rape, and sexual assaults are the negative stories that the public often hears about their favorite footballers, and not a year goes by without a public scandal about a famous player.

Pele, Maradona, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Etoo, Asamoah Gyan, Michael Essien, Drogba, Rooney, Messi, Ronaldo, and other big names in the game have all had public scandals of their own at some point in their careers.

The year has barely begun, and Brazil’s Dani Alves is already dominating headlines after being accused of sexual assault by a lady in a nightclub in Spain.

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Catalonia’s Supreme Court said in a statement that it had opened proceedings “for an alleged crime of sexual assault as a result of the complaint filed by a woman for events that allegedly occurred in a nightclub in Barcelona last month”.

As Dani Alves prepares for trial to clear himself of the charges after pleading not guilty, GhanaWeb’s Joel Eshun has put together a list of 5 football stars who have been accused of rape or sexual assault in the past.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The 38-year-old forward, arguably one of the greatest footballers of all time and Portugal’s greatest, was accused in 2010 by Kathryn Mayorga, who claimed that Ronaldo raped her at a hotel in Las Vegas in 2009.

Kathryn, after going public, claimed that Ronaldo paid her $375,000 in 2019 to keep quiet and that people who are not guilty do not pay their accusers to keep quiet.

The American claimed that Ronaldo raped her and paid her to remain silent, but the Portuguese denied raping Kathryn, as he maintained that they had consensual sex.
Read – See Ronaldo’s classy message to Lionel Messi after Argentina’s win
The lawsuit was later dismissed by a US judge in June 2022 after Kathryn’s lawyer was found to have relied on leaked and stolen records.

Neymar Jnr

Following a world record transfer from Barcelona to France’s Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian received his first major scandal in 2019 after being accused of an alleged rape by a lady named Najila Trindade.

Najila Trindade said she flew from Brazil to France with the intention of meeting Neymar after they exchanged messages on Instagram. According to the reports, the woman said Neymar met her at a hotel and was “drunk” and “aggressive” before forcibly having sex with her without consent.
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The case ended up in a Brazilian court, but the PSG star was however cleared after it emerged that his accuser had connived with her husband to blackmail the footballer.

Karim Benzema and Franck Ribéry

The Real Madrid captain was accused of having sex with an underage prostitute together with his former France teammate, Franck Ribéry, in 2014.

Zahia Dehar, who is now a reality TV star in France, was 17 when both Benzema and Ribery paid her for sex.

Though Ribéry admitted to having sex with Dehar but claimed he did not pay and that he did not know she was a prostitute or a minor, Benzema denied all the allegations.

Prostitution is legal in France, but prostitutes must be over 18. The age of consent is 15 in France, but paying for sex with anyone under 18 is a crime.

The duo were later cleared of all charges after prosecutors admitted the charges were impossible to prove.

Callum Hudson-Odo

The English born with Ghanaian heritage who has been a Black Stars target in 2020 was arrested on an accusation of sexual assault but was subsequently released in June that year.

Hudson-Odoi was, however, cleared after the Metropolitan Police ended their investigation. In a post on Twitter, the player wrote: “I have stayed silent and assisted the police fully throughout their inquiries, as I knew the day would soon come when my name would be cleared.


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