Ronaldo loses endorsement deal over transvestite scandal

May 4th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by admin  

Rio de Janeiro, May 4 (IANS) Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo has lost an advertising contract worth $4.8 million a year with mobile phone company TIM because of the scandal involving him with three cross-dressing prostitutes, EFE news agency reported Sunday. The contract contained a clause allowing its unilateral cancellation by the telecom company if for some reasons the athlete might project a negative corporate image, Brazilian daily O Globo reported Saturday.

Ronaldo had already received $1.8 million from this contract in 2008 and still had another $3 million to collect before the end of the year, according to the report.

The AC Milan striker could also run the risk of losing the lifetime contract that he has with US sports apparel firm Nike, worth some $100 million, some media reports suspected.

Ronaldo, who represented Brazil in two World Cups, Wednesday denied in a statement the possibility of losing those contracts, saying he would have to be found guilty in court in any offense for that to be happened.

Ronaldo has not been accused of any crime - as prostitution is legal in Brazil - but he landed in a police station early Monday following a fight with a transvestite who accused him of not wanting to pay for a night of sex.

According to a cross-dresser’s story, Ronaldo, who told police he was unaware the prostitutes he picked up were men, contracted his services and those of two others working the street in the upscale neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro and they subsequently had sex in the motel.

The transvestite also said that Ronaldo had sent him to buy cocaine in a nearby shantytown, something that the athlete has categorically denied.

Following the scandal, Ronaldo’s girlfriend broke up with him and he has shut himself away in his mother’s mansion to escape the paparazzi.

Ronaldo is in Brazil to recover from a bad knee injury that will keep him off the field until early 2009.

Ronaldo plans to return to Paris next week to see the doctor that operated on him last February.

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