Christiano Ronaldo has been entirely removed from the cover of FIFA 19, several months after the game’s release. The Juventus and Portugal star was briefly removed from some online marketing materials following allegations of sexual assault against the player, before reappearing some days later.
Now, the game has a new cover featuring three entirely new players. Ronaldo’s fellow Juventus player Paulo Dybala appears on the new boxart, alongside Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Paris Saint-Germaine’s Neymar Jr. The trio also appears on the game’s log-in page, while the USA’s Alex Morgan also shows up in menu artwork.
In a statement to Eurogamer, an EA spokesperson said that the mid-season rebrand is a result of the attachment to the UEFA Champions League, which features in EA’s series for the first time this year, having spent many years attached to Pro Evolution Soccer. The statement reads that “we often celebrate different talent across our sports games, and with the UEFA Champions League knockout stages underway we are featuring some of the biggest stars in football and bringing new players a range of content to get excited about.”
Last year, German newspaper Der Speigel published an article on allegations of sexual assault dating back to 2009. Ronaldo’s alleged victim, Kathryn Mayorga, says that she was paid $375,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement over the incident. Last month, Las Vegas police sent a warrant to Italy requesting a sample of the player’s DNA, which his attorney told CNN was a “very standard request” given the “consensual” nature of his relationship with Mayorga.
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Even more recently, Ronaldo agreed to pay an €18.8 million (£16.5 million, $21.3 million) fine for tax evasion. He was also sentenced to 23 months in prison, but is unlikely to actually spend any time behind bars due to the non-violent nature of his crime and the fact that Spanish convicts to not usually serve time for sentences under two years.