Mum claims Cristiano Ronaldo 'assaulted' autistic son after Manchester United defeat
"It’s completely ruined the day and put a bad taste in our mouth"
An English mother has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo "assaulted" her 14-year-old son when he appeared to knock the supporter’s mobile phone out of his hand after Manchester United’s defeat at Everton.
Sarah Kelly, from Upton, took her 14-year-old son Jake Harding to Goodison Park on Saturday to watch Everton for the first time.
Ronaldo had returned to United’s starting line-up and played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
Following the match, footage on social media emerged which appeared to show the Portugal forward knocking a phone out of an Everton supporter’s hand and onto the ground as he walked off towards the tunnel.
Ms Kelly told the Liverpool Echo that her son was recording the United players walking through the tunnel at the end of the game.
She said Ronaldo walked past in a “terrible temper” and “smashed” the phone out of her son’s hand.
"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,” she said.
"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."
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Ms Kelly said the incident ruined her son’s first match experience at Goodison Park.
"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,” she said.
"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.”
Ms Kelly added: "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 shared pictures with the Echo of her son’s hand and phone following the incident.
Later on Saturday evening, Ronaldo posted a statement on his personal Instagram account to apologise – and also invited the supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford “as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship”.
“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” Ronaldo said.
“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.”
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