Police have begun an investigation after Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to slap a young fan’s phone to the ground after his side’s defeat to Everton.
Footage shared by @EvertonHub on Twitter shows Ronaldo throwing his right hand towards the ground as he left the Goodison Park pitch, and what appears to be a phone bouncing out of a spectator’s hand and onto the floor.
The fan’s mother has claimed her 14-year-old son, Jake Harding, was left “bruised” by the incident, which left the youngster “in complete shock”.
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police has now said: “We can confirm that we are liaising with Manchester United Football Club and Everton FC following reports of an alleged assault at the Everton v Manchester United football match at Goodison.
“As players were leaving the pitch at 2.30 pm, it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch.
“Inquiries are underway and officers are currently working with Everton Football Club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness inquiries to establish if an offense has taken place.
“Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Center quoting reference number 228 of April 9th, 2022.”
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Sarah Kelly said her 14-year-old son is autistic and “didn’t really digest what was happening” until he got home.
She told the paper that “he’s really upset about it, and it’s completely put him off going to the game again,” “This is the first football game he’s been to and this has happened.”
Jake, she said, wasn’t waving his phone in Ronaldo’s face-and it was down by the floor when the Portuguese striker moved towards it.
She also shared an image of her son’s hand with the newspaper, in which it appeared red and bruised.
Ronaldo: ‘It’s never easy to deal with emotions‘
Ronaldo apologized for the incident on Instagram and invited the fan to a match at Old Trafford.
“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient, and set an example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.
“I would like to apologize 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.”
United are aware of the footage, which has been widely shared on social media, and the club said on Saturday afternoon that they were looking into the incident.