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South Korean fans to sue after Cristiano Ronaldo's no-show

More than 2,000 South Korean football fans will sue a sports agency after superstar Cristiano Ronaldo stayed on the bench when his Juventus side played a friendly in Seoul last Friday, a law firm said yesterday.

The Portuguese superstar did not play in the match against a K-League All-Star team, ignoring appeals from the sell-out 65,000 crowd at the World Cup Stadium to lace up his boots.

When the game was first announced, organisers said the contract with Juventus obliged Ronaldo to play for at least 45 minutes, prompting many fans to splash out, according to Seoul law firm Myungan.

Tickets - priced from 30,000 won (S$34.80) to 400,000 won - sold out in just 2½ hours when they were released on July 3.

"So far, more than 2,000 fans have contacted us to pursue the suit," Myungan attorney Kim Hun Ki told AFP.

"We plan to officially file the suit on their behalf some time next week, if the agency does not offer a concrete plan to compensate the ticket-holders before then."

Juventus had landed in Seoul only five hours before kick-off, following a delay in their flight from Nanjing, China.

Robin Zhang, CEO of The Festa, the Korean agency which arranged the game, told local broadcaster SBS in tears that she had complained to Juventus vice-chairman Pavel Nedved during the match.

She told SBS that Nedved said he also hoped Ronaldo would play, but added that the superstar did not want to and he's sorry there's nothing he can do.

Zhang added that she will find "ways to compensate" ticket- holders.

Ronaldo has been subjected to a backlash on social media.

"He betrayed the 60,000 audience and belittled us," a Korean who attended the game posted on Instagram. "I'm no longer a Ronaldo fan." - AFP

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