EA Sports and FIFA have dropped Cristiano Ronaldo from the cover of FIFA 19, replacing the Juventus player with Neymar, Paulo Dybala, and Kevin De Bruyne.
The news of this change up on both the cover and all subsequent promotional materials came via the official FIFA 19 Twitter account.
Check out the tweet below:
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) February 6, 2019
Though unconfirmed, the assumption seems to be Ronaldo has been dropped as a result of the sexual assault allegations which were lodged against the footballer back in October last year. It’s understandable why EA would want to distance themselves from this.
The video game publisher’s official response regarding Ronaldo back in October was:
We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo. We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.
However, it seems strange Ronaldo remained on the cover for a number of months before being removed, which implies EA was genuinely unsure about what to do. There’s also the chance EA simply decided to change up the cover.
If nothing else, Neymar, Dybala, and De Bruyne seem pretty chuffed about making the cover – check out their reactions in the tweets below:
— Paulo Dybala (@PauDybala_JR) February 6, 2019
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) February 6, 2019
In September last year, German magazine Der Spiegel, published an interview with the alleged victim, Kathryn Mayorga, in which the American spoke publicly about the alleged incident for the first time.
In an Instagram Live last year, a day after the claims had resurfaced, Ronaldo took to Instagram to address them.
It’s unclear what exact question was asked before he seemingly dismissed the allegations. He looked into the camera and said:
No, no, no, no, no. What they said today? Fake, fake news.
They want to promote [themselves by using] my name. It’s normal. They want to be famous to say my name, but it is part of the job. I am a happy man and all good.
As reported by the Mirror, his lawyers, Schertz Bergmann Rechtsanwälte, issued a statement denying Kathryn Mayorga’s claims, saying they’d sue for ‘compensation for moral damages’.
His solicitor, Professor Dr Christian Schertz said:
The reporting in SPIEGEL is blatantly illegal. It violates the personal rights of our client Cristiano Ronaldo in an exceptionally serious way.
At the time of writing, the investigation is currently ongoing. Ronaldo has always denied the allegations.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.