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Real Madrid star Ronaldo wins damages case

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over a claim that he put his injured ankle at risk by "living it up" in a Hollywood nightclub.

Ronaldo was not at London's High Court for the settlement of his action against Telegraph Media Group Ltd over a July 2008 story 'Ronaldo back in the limelight'.

His solicitor Allan Dunlavy told Mrs Justice Sharp that it caused embarrassment, offence and distress to the player who, as a professional, was concerned both as to his own reputation and how it might be perceived by his then club, Manchester United, manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the fans.

Mr Dunlavy said that the newspaper now accepted the allegations were untrue, apologised, and had agreed to pay Ronaldo substantial damages and his legal costs in full.

The agreed statement settling the case was read out on the day that a five-day trial of the action was due to start, with Ronaldo scheduled to give evidence on Tuesday.

Mr Dunlavy said that the story appeared alongside a photo of Ronaldo on crutches in Los Angeles, where he had travelled to attend a sports award ceremony to which he had been invited and nominated for Best Male International Athlete.

The newspaper reported that on arrival, Ronaldo "headed straight for" a trendy nightclub where he put his crutches down to take to the dance floor with four models before being served "£10,000 worth of Cristal champagne".

It alleged that the sight of the footballer "living it up" in LA would dismay Ferguson.

"In fact, the truth is that these events did not happen and the claimant did not behave unprofessionally.

"The claimant was in Los Angeles, having gone there on holiday in the knowledge and with the advance permission of his club, his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, his surgeon and his physio, and while he did attend the nightclub in question, he did not drink any alcohol at all whilst there, nor at any time whilst in Los Angeles.

"He does not, as a rule, drink alcohol because he takes his health, fitness and recovery from injury very seriously.

"Nor did he put his crutches down to take to the dance floor despite the risk to his injured ankle."

In a statement, Ronaldo said: "I am delighted with this outcome. I take enormous pride in my professionalism. I treat my training and recovery from injury very seriously and would never have drunk and danced in a nightclub without my crutches as the Daily Telegraph falsely claimed.

"I felt I had no choice but to begin and pursue these legal proceedings.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane and the others who were ready to appear as witnesses at the trial which had been due to start today."

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