After Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to slap a cell phone out of a young fan’s hand, police in Liverpool said Sunday that they have begun an inquiry.
On Saturday, Manchester United were defeated 1-0 by Everton at Goodison Park, the latter’s home field. Everton was the favorite team of the young boy.
Footage that spread on social media showed Ronaldo making his way off the pitch through the tunnel with fans on either side of the railing. It then appeared to show him slapping the hand of the young fan who was holding a mobile phone.
Sarah Kelly, the mother of Jake, the young fan, told local media outlet the Liverpool Echo: “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.
“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,” she said.
She also provided the Liverpool Echo with a photo showing her son’s bruised hand.
In a statement, Merseyside Police confirmed they were liaising with Manchester United and Everton following reports of the alleged assault.
“As players were leaving the pitch at 2.30 p.m., it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch,” the statement said.
“Inquiries are underway 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,” it added.
Ronaldo apologized for the incident on his Instagram account, saying: “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 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.”