Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has made an apologetic gesture to the Everton fan whose phone he smashed after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park. Ronaldo was accused of ‘assault’ by the supporter’s mother after hitting the phone out of his hand as he left the pitch.
Everton boosted their Premier League survival hopes after Anthony Gordon’s first-half deflected strike sealed a crucial win at Saturday lunchtime. Ronaldo returned to the United starting line-up but was starved of service as the club’s top-four hopes suffered another blow.
After full-time, footage emerged of the 37-year-old being heckled by Everton fans as he headed for the corner tunnel. On his way off the pitch, he aggressively swiped a fan’s phone out of his hand as it seemingly blocked his path, much to the anger of those surrounding the incident.
Ronaldo has since responded to the incident on social media, taking to his Instagram on Saturday. The caption on his post read: “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 beatiful game.”
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A few hours after the match, Sarah Kelly, the supporter’s mother, took to Facebook with images of her son’s bruised hand and smashed phone. She accused Ronaldo of ‘assaulting’ the fan in question, labelled the Portugal international a thug and revealed they had taken the matter to the police.
As part of his Instagram post, Ronaldo responded by inviting Jake Kelly to a game at Old Trafford to apologise for his ‘outburst’ on Merseyside. “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,” Ronaldo added.
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United have confirmed they are investigating the footage; the video and alleged photo evidence of damage to the fans’ hand make for worrying viewing. The incident will likely develop in the coming days, given the seriousness of the situation.
It undoubtedly won’t overshadow the result for the supporter, though, as Everton took a considerable step towards maintaining their long-standing Premier League status. As for Ronaldo and Co., following Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-0 win at Aston Villa, they may have to turn their attention away from the top four and focus on avoiding Europa Conference League football next term.
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