Following Manchester United’s defeat to Everton on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly “assaulted” a supporter by smashing a phone out of his hand, prompting police to launch an investigation.
Merseyside Police issued an appeal for witnesses on Sunday after footage on social media showed Ronaldo snatching the phone from an Everton fan as he exited the pitch following United’s 1-0 loss at Goodison Park.
“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,” a spokesperson for Merseyside Police said.
“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 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 mother of the 14-year-old supporter told the Liverpool Echo that her son, who is autistic and has dyspraxia, was left with a bruised hand as a result of the incident.
On Saturday, Ronaldo apologized for his “outburst” and invited the boy to watch a game at Old Trafford to make amends.
“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” he wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
The Football Association said: “We are aware of the incident and will be seeking observations on the matter from both clubs and the player involved.”