Cristiano Ronaldo says the rape allegation against him was an attack on his honour and led to the worst year of his life.
Ronaldo was accused of raping a woman in Las Vegas more than 10 years ago but won't face criminal charges after it was determined the investigation failed to show the claim could be proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
Speaking to Portuguese television TVI, Ronaldo said: "2018 was probably my worst year ever, personally speaking. When people question your honour, it hurts, it hurts a lot."
The 34-year-old Juventus forward did not directly talk about the 2009 accusation brought on by Kathryn Mayorga, an American who in a separate lawsuit says she was pressured to sign an agreement to keep quiet in exchange for $375,000.
Ronaldo said he was not "comfortable speaking" about the case, "but when people attack your honour, it is difficult."
He said he was thankful and proud that "once again" his innocence was proven.
People who say they are victims of sexual assault are not usually named by the media. Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to be named.