Manchester United football icon Cristiano Ronaldo has been charged by the English Football Association (FA) over footage that went viral, showing the 37-year-old Portuguese star slapping a phone out of a teenage fan’s hand.
Football fans, mostly Everton supporters, filmed Ronaldo leaving the stadium following Manchester United’s humiliating 1-0 defeat to Everton back on April 9, 2022.
The video appeared to show the five-time Ballon d’Or winner reacting angrily and smashing a teenage supporter’s phone.
The defeat against Everton thrust a heavy blow to United’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022/23 Champions League campaign as they went on to finish sixth on the Premier League table.
Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier been warned by the Merseyside Police following the unprofessional incident after they investigated and wrapped up the case on August 17, 2022.
A statement from the Merseyside Police read: “We can confirm that a 37-year-old man voluntarily attended and was interviewed under caution about an allegation of assault and criminal damage.
“The allegation relates to an incident following the Everton v Manchester United football match at Goodison Park on Saturday, April 9.
“The matter has been dealt with by way of a conditional caution. The matter has now concluded.”
Meanwhile, the Football Association has slammed Ronaldo with a charge of breaching Rule E3; which relates to violent and improper conduct after he slapped a mobile phone out of the hand of a teenage fan for a reason undisclosed.
FA in a statement released on Friday, September 23, 2022, stated that: “Cristiano Ronaldo has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E33 for an incident that took place after Manchester United FC’s Premier League match against Everton FC on Saturday 9 April 2022.”
On the other hand, Manchester United issued a backup statement for the 37-year-old forward shortly afterward that read: “We note the FA announcement about Cristiano Ronaldo. We will be supporting the player in his response to the charge.”
Perhaps, the 37-year-old United forward got infuriated and acted unruly towards the teenage fan after failing to get into the Champions League action this summer as Everton’s defeat last season thwarted the chance.
However, the Portuguese felt embarrassed by his action and apologized in an Instagram post shortly after the incident.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner said it was “never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing”.
He continued: “Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, and patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.”
After he apologized for the incident, Ronaldo even offered the teenage supporter a visit to Old Trafford to exhibit ” fair play and sportsmanship”.
Ronaldo said: “I would like to apologize 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.”
However, the invitation was declined by the boy’s mother who insisted her family owes Ronaldo no favor and asserted she had left the matter to the police.
She said: “It’s like we owe him a favor but I’m sorry, we don’t. It’s in the hands of the police.”
The 37-year-old is currently on international duty with Portugal in preparation for the UEFA Nations League games against the Czech Republic on Saturday, September 24, and Spain on Tuesday, September 27.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s next Premier League outing is against Manchester City, at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, October 2.
Based on the past judgment of related cases, if Ronaldo is found guilty by the FA, the 37-year-old United and Portuguese football legend could be out of football action for some time as he is likely to face a warning, fine, or suspension.