Cristiano Ronaldo’s refusal to play against the K League All Stars in Seoul last Friday will cost his club Juventus US$675,000 of their almost US$3 million match fee, according to reports.
South Korean media outlet MBC has said this will be the sum docked from the Italian champions after their star player apparently refused to play in the friendly.
Further reports suggested that Ronaldo’s failure to feature in the game, as had been stipulated in the contract, was one of several missteps made by the Italian giants in their few hours in the country during a whistle-stop Asia tour visit.
Twitter account Korea Football News claimed the Serie A title holders only arrived in South Korea five hours before the scheduled kick-off and then arrived at the stadium after the game should have started, forcing a delay of almost an hour for the nearly 65,000 fans in the sell-out crowd and their hosts.
The penalty clause for sitting Cristiano Ronaldo out of Juventus’ friendly against Team K League is $675K USD out of their total revenue of about $3 million from their 12-hour stay in Korea, according to MBC. pic.twitter.com/rJk6IIDgEg
— Steve Han • 한만성 (@realstevescores) July 29, 2019
Furthermore, it was alleged that Ronaldo failed to attend a fan meeting, another of his contractual commitments for the visit.
The Italian giants are now facing a huge backlash from South Korean fans after their behaviour.
What @juventusfc did
– Arrived in Korea 5 hours before the game
– C. Ronaldo didn’t attended a fan meeting
– Arrived at the stadium after 8pm (kick-off time)
– The Game was delayed an hour
– C. Ronaldo didn’t play (He has no injury)
– left the stadium without greeting crowds
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) July 27, 2019
Juventus had agreed with match promoters The Fasta that their record signing would attend the fan meeting and play for at least 45 minutes of the friendly at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium but he fulfilled neither obligation.
The Portugal captain opted to miss the fan signing session to “prepare for the game” before refusing to play the game because of “muscle fatigue”, according to South Korea football journalist Steve Han.
South Korean fans have not held back on social media with many telling the club to stay away in the future, with many pledging their allegiance to Ronaldo’s long-time Ballon d’Or rival Lionel Messi. Fans in the stadium chanted Messi’s name during Friday’s game.
— 훈데르트 봤어? (@resonance486) July 27, 2019
Some 2,000 fans are suing the match promoters, according to a statement from law firm Myungan on Monday. The K League has also sent a letter of protest to Juventus, according to Yonhap News Agency.
In contrast to his time in South Korea, Ronaldo had played during the team’s previous game against Inter Milan in Nanjing, scoring the equaliser. He tweeted that it was “Always a pleasure to see you China” after leaving. The player has made annual tours to China over the last three years, even if his club has not.
Friday’s game was eventually drawn 3-3.