Cristiano Ronaldo has apologised for his “outburst” while leaving the pitch after Manchester United’s defeat at Everton, when he appeared to knock a mobile phone out of a supporter’s hand.
Ronaldo had returned to United’s starting line-up and played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
Following the match, footage on social media emerged which appeared to show the Portugal forward knocking a phone out of an Everton supporter’s hand and onto the ground as he walked off towards the tunnel.
Later on Saturday evening, Ronaldo posted a statement on his personal Instagram account to apologise – and also invited the supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford “as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship”.
“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” Ronaldo said.
“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.”
Manchester United confirmed the club were aware of the matter.
A club spokesperson said in a statement: “We are aware of an alleged incident after today’s game at Everton and the club will cooperate with any police inquiries.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of breaking a fan’s phone after Manchester United’s defeat to Everton 😡
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) April 9, 2022
Sarah Kelly, the mother of the young fan Jake, gave her account of the incident to the Liverpool Echo.
She alleged: “At full-time the Man United players started walking off. We were in the Park End so we were right by the tunnel where they came walking past – my son was there videoing them all.
“He filmed all the United players walking through. And then he lowered his phone because Ronaldo had pulled down his sock and his leg was bleeding. He lowered his phone to see what it was – he didn’t even speak.
“Ronaldo then just walked past, with a terrible, terrible temper and smashed the phone out of my son’s hand and carried on walking.”
Mrs Kelly shared pictures with the Liverpool Echo of her son’s hand which appeared to show bruising. She added: “You can see by the bruise that he’s made contact. I just can’t believe I’m talking about it.”
“I was crying, I was shook up, Jacob was in complete shock – he’s autistic and he’s got dyspraxia as well, so he didn’t really digest what was happening until he’s come home now.
“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.
“We had an absolutely brilliant day up until those final few seconds when they came off the pitch. It’s completely ruined the day and put a bad taste in our mouth.
“He’s an idol. Yes, he’s not from Everton and you like who you like, but Ronaldo’s a big player. My son’s always been like ‘Ronaldo’s going to be there’ – he’s an icon.
“I’d understand if Jake was waving it in his face but he wasn’t near his face, it was down by the floor checking his injury.
She continued: “He’s an autistic boy and he’s been assaulted by a football player, that’s how I see it as a mum.”