Cristiano Ronaldo is at the centre of a Merseyside police investigation as a result of an incident at the end of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Everton in which the Manchester United forward appeared to knock a mobile phone out of a supporter’s hand.
While the 37-year-old subsequently apologised on Instagram and invited the fan to a game at Old Trafford, police are now appealing for witnesses after a video of the incident was posted on social media as the Portuguese headed towards the tunnel at Goodison Park.
A spokesperson for Merseyside police said: “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.
“As players were leaving the pitch at 2.30pm, it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch. Inquiries are under way and officers are currently working with Everton Football Club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness inquiries 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.”
United’s reverse at Goodison Park left them six points behind Tottenham in the final Champions League berth with seven matches remaining for both sides, the disappointing display the latest of a particularly poor season.
On Instagram Ronaldo said: “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.”
Later on Saturday a United spokesperson said: “We are aware of an alleged incident after today’s game at Everton and the club will cooperate with any police inquiries.”