Cristiano Ronaldo
Photo by: AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev

Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is in the middle of the global public conversation this Friday after allegedly being sentenced by Iranian authorities to receive 99 lashes for "committing adultery" during a recent trip to the country.

The catalytic event took place in September, when Ronaldo travelled to the country to play an AFC Champions League match with Saudi club Al-Nassr. There, he met Fatemeh Hamami, a disabled painter who gave him two portraits of him, leading him to give her a hug and a kiss as a show of appreciation.

However, Iranian outlet Sharq Emroz said since these gestures are considered to be "adulterous" in Iran, several lawyers made formal presentations regarding the even and that a court determined that he should receive 99 lashes the next time he arrives in the country, but that he could be forgiven if he shows remorse for his actions.

Hours after the version made its way around the world, the Iranian embassy in Spain rejected the claim. According to Spanish outlet La Sexta, the entity said: "we categorically rebut any court ruling against any international athlete in Iran." "It is a matter of concern that the publication of unfounded news can eclipse the war crimes and crimes against humanity against the oppressed Palestinian nation," the document added, referencing the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

"Cristiano Ronaldo traveled to Iran on September 18 and 19 to play a soccer match and was well received by the people and the authorities. His sincere and humane meeting with Fatemeh Hamami was also praised and admired both by the people and the sporting authorities in the country," the text adds.

Ronaldo doesn't have to go back to Iran in the near future, as the competition's play-off has ended and the team doesn't have scheduled matches in the country. However, Al-Nassr could eventually face another Iranian team further into the competition.

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