The mother of the young Everton supporter who allegedly had his phone smashed by Cristiano Ronaldo has slammed the Manchester United forward for his ‘rude’ and ‘weak’ apology.
The Merseyside Police has launched an investigation after video footage appeared to show Ronaldo slapping a mobile phone out of the hand of 14-year-old Everton supporter Jacob Harding.
The incident occurred in the immediate aftermath of United’s 1-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park, with Ronaldo losing his cool as he made his way off the pitch.
Ronaldo has issued an apology to the young supporter and has offered Jacob the chance to watch a United game at Old Trafford.
But Sarah Kelly, Jacob’s mother, has criticised Ronaldo for his failure to privately contact her son and claims he does not want to take up the Portuguese’s offer of going to watch United.
‘The apology or lack of apology was what angered me even more,’ Sarah told The Telegraph.
‘I thought, ‘How rude – you are telling everybody you have apologised and you haven’t’. OK, you have put it out to social media but… you should be apologising to my son.
‘He [Ronaldo] had several hours to ponder on it. He should have found out our contact details… been private, said he had spoken to us and released something. I would have been happy with that.
‘I was quite shocked United hadn’t put a statement out asking us to get in touch, just something a bit heartfelt, rather than Ronaldo saying the supporter can come to me.
‘That comes across really, really rude to me. Why would we, as Everton fans, go to United? He put, ‘this supporter’. It doesn’t state if he was an Everton supporter or a United supporter. It’s just a very, very weak apology in my opinion.
‘It was our first time [together at football]. Jacob is obsessed with Everton and football. It’s his passion. It just took a complete shine off the game, the win, the experience. I’m not even thinking of the day I had with him, the nice time before the incident. I’m just thinking of the last five seconds. It has completely spoilt it. It’s shocking.
‘I did ask him: ‘Would you like to go? Ronaldo said we could go to United’. He said, ‘No, mum, I would never want to see him again’. That’s upsetting because Ronaldo was one of the reasons he wanted to go to the United game.’
Sarah also revealed that Jacob, who suffers with autism, struggled to sleep after the incident.
‘With him having disabilities, it is harder for him to express and can take more days to understand what has happened,’ Sarah said.
‘With his autism, he kind of finds it hard to process things. He’s processed it in his way – which is like, ‘I can’t believe Ronaldo has done that, I really liked him’.
‘Even though he does not support United, Ronaldo is a star. He’s a big player who kids idolise. We’ve watched his football journey. He’s been such a good player. It was a shock. Both of us haven’t slept [on Saturday night].
‘We were going to go to the park [on Sunday] and and he was, ‘I don’t want to do that today mum’. I’m hoping that it has not put him off. I’m hoping that’s just the exhaustion of Saturday. I think he’s quite shaken underneath but not really expressing it. I’m sure he will do – he’ll process it in his own way.’