Ronaldo wins libel damages

Footballer also receives apology and costs in full for Telegraph story

Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year and former Manchester United star, today accepted substantial damages and an apology from the publishers of The Daily Telegraph in respect of an article in July 2008 alleging that on his arrival in Los Angeles, following an ankle operation, he had headed straight for a trendy Hollywood nightclub where he put his crutches down and danced with four models before being served £10,000 worth of Cristal champagne. His behaviour was said to have been likely to have dismayed Sir Alex Ferguson.

The trial, which was due to start today, was vacated after the action was settled at the end of last week. In a statement in open court read this morning, the court was told 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 while there, not at any time 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 down his crutches to take to the dancefloor.”

The Court heard that Telegraph Media Limited now “accepts that the allegations were untrue and have agreed to publish an apology in The Daily Telegraph tomorrow (and online), and to enter into this Statement in Open Court in order to further apologise for the distress and embarrassment caused by the article… Furthermore, the Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages to the Claimant for the libel and to reimburse his costs in full.”

There were two earlier hearings in this matter; a PTR in October 2009 and a Jameel abuse application in October 2010.

5RB‘s Adam Speker was junior counsel for Cristiano Ronaldo, instructed by Schillings.

To see the full statement read in open court, click on the pdf icon below.