Irate South Korean football fans are legally seeking compensation after Cristiano Ronaldo failed to take to the pitch during a Juventus pre-season friendly.
The superstar was contracted to play 45 minutes when the match against K League All-Stars was announced, organisers say, but he stayed on the subs’ bench.
Fans became angry when he made no sign of lacing up his boots, even chanting the name of his rival Lionel Messi.
According to a report by BBC, some have now reached out to Seoul law firm Myungan to file a lawsuit. They are seeking compensation of 70,000 won (£48.50, $59) per ticket, 1,000 won for the ticket commission fee, and 1m won each for compensation for “mental anguish”.
“Normally in such cases, the plaintiffs will be refunded the price of the tickets, but I put this under a special case since the company, through false advertising, took advantage of the football star’s fans,” a lawyer from the firm told Reuters.
“As for the mental anguish part, I’d like to say some of them are raucous fans, the real avid fans. So for them it is very painful because they love Ronaldo and want to protect him, but they can’t, given the situation,” he added.
“For now we have two plaintiffs who sued the company, but I have been getting a lot of calls today and I assume there will be some 60,000 more.”
Robin Chang, CEO of The Fasta, the Korean agency which arranged the game, broke down in tears to broadcaster SBS and confirmed that the contract stipulated the Portuguese star appear for 45 minutes.
However, Ms Chang said she only found out that the 34-year-old would not be making an appearance 10 minutes into the second half.
“When I went to argue with (Pavel) Nedved, the vice president of Juventus, all he said was ‘I also wish Ronaldo ran, but he doesn’t want to. Sorry, there’s nothing I can do.’ I was so frustrated,” she said.
South Korea’s professional football governing body, K League, said a letter of protest has been sent to the Italian champions for violating the contract.
Many fans have been voicing their anger at Ronaldo on social media.