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Ronaldo wins damages over drink binge libel

SoccerNews in English Premier League, La Liga 9 Nov 2009

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Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo won “substantial” libel damages on Monday over a newspaper report saying he went on a drink-fueled “bender” in a Hollywood nightclub.

The Daily Mirror reported in July last year that Ronaldo, who does not drink alcohol, had gone on a drinking binge despite the fact that he was on crutches, recovering from an ankle operation.

Under the headline “Ron the Lash,” it said the then Manchester United player had spent 10,000 pounds on champagne and vodka for friends and models, having drunk four glasses of red wine himself earlier in the evening.

“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,” his lawyer Ronald Thwaites told the court.

But a lawyer for publishers MGN Limited told London’s High Court the newspaper “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.”

Thwaites said that, although Ronaldo was in 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.”

In a statement issued by his lawyer, the injured Real Madrid striker said: “I am delighted with this outcome.

“I take training and recovery from injury very seriously and would never have ‘gone on a bender’ and danced in a nightclub without my crutches as the Mirror falsely claimed,” Ronaldo added.

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