The Portugal star has attracted the ire of fans and officials alike after not playing in a friendly game against the K League All-Stars
The row between Juventus and South Korea’s K League shows no sign of abating as the latter released a statement accusing the Serie A champions of “shamelessness, untruth and deception”.
Korean fans have pursued legal action against Juventus for the cost of tickets and ‘mental anguish’ after Cristiano Ronaldo did not play in a pre-season match between Juve and a K League All-Star team.
Maurizio Sarri put out a strong side which played out an entertaining 3-3 draw, but it has been claimed the Portuguese star was contractually obliged to play for at least 45 minutes.
He sat the game out due to muscle fatigue after playing against Inter two days previous. There were further issues as the squad arrived to the stadium significantly late, which Juve claimed was due to a flight delay and traffic congestion.
The statement claims that a contract was agreed to ensure Ronaldo would play, and that all precautions would be taken by the club to avoid any timing issues.
It read: “K League cannot help but feel disappointed and cheated by Juventus for its shamelessness.
“Juventus said in its reply that Ronaldo’s absence was due to muscle fatigue from previous matches that had forced him to take a rest. If Ronaldo was unable to play, it would be a blatant deception to include Ronaldo as a substitute on the start list.
“Also, according to a phone recording between the promoter and an official from Juventus released in the media, everyone from Juventus including Ronaldo himself and the manager Sarri knew it clearly that Ronaldo was supposed to play.
“Yet, Juventus has so far avoided responsibility for Ronaldo’s no-show without any explanations.
“Other assertions from Juventus are also filled with untruth and deception.
“K League clearly register our profound indignation and disappointment to Juventus’s irresponsible behaviour and manners, and we strongly urge Juventus to offer a sincere apology and explain the reason for Ronaldo’s no-show.”
Article continues below
The strongly worded statement also rejects the explanation given by Juventus for their lateness to the stadium in Seoul.
Juventus had claimed it took almost two hours for the squad to exit the airport but press reported this only took 26 minutes – a figure verified by the Korea Immigration Service.
The K League registered their disagreement with Juve’s description on their club website of the game as a successful event, asserting that the club had ‘disvalued’ South Korea through their actions.