Police launch investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo incident at Everton
Merseyside Police is probing whether any offence was committed after a reported incident involving Cristiano Ronaldo during Saturday's Everton match, in which he allegedly knocked a mobile phone out of a teen fan's hand.
The force is appealing for witnesses after footage on social media emerged which allegedly appeared to show the Manchester United forward knocking a phone out of the 14-year-old Everton supporter’s hand and onto the ground.
The clip was captured as Ronaldo limped off towards the players' tunnel following United’s 1-0 loss to the Toffees at Goodison Park.
The footage, shared by @evertonhub on Twitter, allegedly shows Ronaldo knocking a phone out of the fan's hand
Ronaldo later issued an apology for his “outburst” via social media and invited the supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford “as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship”.
But Sarah Kelly, from Upton, has claimed that Ronaldo "bruised" her 14-year-old son in the incident, as the player allegedly swiped the teen's mobile phone out of his hand.
Ms Kelly says she had taken her son Jake to Goodison Park on Saturday to watch Everton for the first time.
He saw his side claim a crucial 1-0 victory over Man U, thanks to a first-half goal from Anthony Gordon.
Jake and Ms Kelly reportedly sat in the Park End, meaning that they were near the away side as the players left the pitch to return to the dressing room.
Footage circulating on social media shows Ronaldo appearing to knock an object, suggested to be a mobile phone, out of someone’s hand as the striker and his teammates made their way back to their dressing room, following the full-time whistle.
Sarah told the Liverpool Echo that the phone belonged to her son, Jake, and claimed Ronaldo bruised the boy's hand, by knocking the object to the floor.
She said: "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."
Sarah shared pictures with the Echo which appear to show bruising to Jake's hand as well as a phone with a smashed screen. She added: "You can see by the bruise that he’s made contact. I just can’t believe I’m talking about it."
Sarah said that the incident left Jake, who is autistic and has dyspraxia, in "complete shock" and it ruined his first match at Goodison.
She said: "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.
She said: "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 added: "He’s an autistic boy and he’s been assaulted by a football player, that’s how I see it as a mum."
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police 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 2.30pm, it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch.
“Inquiries are under way and officers are currently working with Everton Football Club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness enquiries to establish if an offence has taken place.
“Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact centre quoting reference number 228 of 9 April 2022.”
The 37-year-old Ronaldo later took to his Instagram account to apologise.
He said: “It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing.
“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 they 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 co-operate with any police inquiries.”
Anthony Gordon’s deflected shot handed Everton a priceless victory in their bid to avoid relegation while at the same time denting United’s hopes of a top-four finish.