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Soccer

Police investigate Cristiano Ronaldo’s alleged assault on autistic boy

The Manchester United forward hit the hand of the boy who was recording him, leaving his mobile phone on the ground at the end of the match against Everton.

Update:
Police investigate Cristiano Ronaldo’s alleged assault on autistic boy

Cristiano Ronaldo had two clear chances to score for Manchester United against Everton on Saturday, but failed to do so on either occasion and ended up frustrated with his team’s latest setback.

The 37-year-old is now in the spotlight for what happened after the final whistle at Goodison Park. Shortly after full-time, images began to circulate on social media of Ronaldo smashing a fan’s mobile phone. The 14-year-old fan, Jake Harding, was at Goodison Park for the first time, as his mother, Sarah Kelly, confirmed to the Liverpool ECHO.

Sarah and her son were in the Park End, behind the goal and near the tunnel as the players from both sides made their way off the pitch. Jake was filming the players’ when Ronaldo hit him on the hand, knocking his mobile phone to the ground and leaving his “hand bruised”. “He recorded all the United players walking in and then put the phone down because Ronaldo had pulled down his sock and his leg was bleeding. He put the phone down to see what it was, he didn’t even speak,” his mother explained.

“He’s autistic, he was crying and totally shocked”

“Ronaldo just walked past, with a terrible temper, snatched the phone out of my son’s hand and kept walking,” Sarah continued. Jake, who is autistic and has dyspraxia, as confirmed by his mother, “was crying and totally shocked, he didn’t digest what was happening until he got home”.

“He’s really upset and it completely put him off going back to a match. It’s the first one he’s been to and this happens. We had an absolutely brilliant day until those last few seconds, which completely spoil the day,” Sarah said.

Ronaldo apologises, mother calls him a “thug”

Ronaldo himself, aware of the seriousness of the incident, apologised on social media. “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,” he posted on his Instagram account.

Sarah Kelly also spoke out on Facebook. “Well, a lovely game turned into me and Jake with the police. I can’t believe I’m saying this but RONALDO smashed Jake’s phone out of his hand while he was recording him coming off at full time. I’m shocked that a professional footballer can assault a child like this. If anyone can get any videos of this for me, I believe they are on Instagram already. I’m not on there! Please share! These football players are thugs! He is a dad himself, how would he feel if this was done to his kid?” she wrote, attaching photos of her son’s hand and the broken phone.

Police liaising with both clubs

Merseyside Police confirmed that it is liaising with Manchester United and Everton following reports that a boy was allegedly assaulted by an away player at the game. Anyone with information is urged to contact the police.

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