Merseyside Police are investigating images which appeared to show Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo hit a phone out of an Everton supporter’s hand following Saturday’s game at Goodison Park
Cristiano Ronaldo attempted to hide from the spotlight as the controversy surrounding an incident which appeared to show him smashing a fan’s mobile phone rumbles on.
The Manchester United superstar is alleged to have hit a phone out of the hand of Everton fan Jake Harding, 14, moments after the Red Devils’ defeat at Goodison Park. The Portuguese icon suffered another frustrating afternoon as Anthony Gordon’s goal was the difference on Saturday lunchtime.
A furious Ronaldo was captured trudging down the tunnel following the 1-0 loss, with images appearing to show him slapping the device to the floor going viral across social media. The 37-year-old has issued a public apology to the young supporter and offered him tickets to watch United at Old Trafford.
“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” wrote Ronaldo on Instagram. “Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.
“I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship.”
However, Jake’s mother Sarah Kelly hit out at Ronaldo and United for what she deemed as an unacceptable response to the incident which left her son bruised and upset. “United have handled it terribly and it’s just made things even worse to be honest,” she told the Liverpool ECHO.
“The way I see it is, if someone assaulted him in the street and then asked us to go around for dinner, we wouldn’t. Just because he’s Cristiano Ronaldo, why would we do it? It’s like we owe him a favour, but I’m sorry, we don’t.”
Sarah went on to say: “We’ve kindly declined the offer to go to United because Jake doesn’t want to go there and he doesn’t want to see Ronaldo. He’s made that pretty clear.
“They’re not my words, they’re my son’s words. At the end of the day, this is what it’s about. It’s affected him more than it’s affected me, so I have put everything to him to make his own mind up on – he doesn’t want to go to United, he doesn’t want to go to see Ronaldo. All that I’m saying right now is that it’s in the hands of the police.”
Merseyside Police and the Football Association are investigating the incident, but the Sun have reported that United themselves will not be punishing the player. The report claims Old Trafford bosses are satisfied with his apology, but have promised to assist the police in any ongoing investigation.
As those continue in earnest, Ronaldo has started his preparations for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Norwich City. United know only a victory will preserve their fading top-four hopes and they are busy at work, ready to welcome the Canaries.
However, upon leaving United’s Carrington training complex on Tuesday, Ronaldo looked to avoid the waiting cameras and made a swift exit in the back of a dark Porsche.