Mum And Autistic Son Who Was 'Assaulted' By Cristiano Ronaldo Are Refusing To Meet The Player
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The mum of a 14-year-old autistic boy who she claims was ‘assaulted’ by Cristiano Ronaldo has refused to meet the player.
Sarah Kelly said one of Ronaldo’s representatives contacted her after the footballer appeared to knock a phone out of her son’s hand following Manchester United’s defeat to Everton on 9 April.
Despite Ronaldo’s team inviting Kelly’s son Jake Harding to meet, she insisted she has ‘nothing to say’ to the superstar athlete.
Harding was filming United players walking through the tunnel after their 1-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, when a frustrated Ronaldo appeared to knock the teenager’s phone from his hand.
Kelly has slammed Ronaldo’s actions and said her ‘shocked’ son’s autism means he’s unable to ‘digest things the same way a person with no disability would’.
She told Sky News: "Why should I travel to Old Trafford? Why would 'a Blue' want to go to [visit] 'a Red'?"
Commenting on Ronaldo’s Instagram apology on Sunday – in which the footballer invited Harding to Old Trafford as a sign of ‘sportsmanship’ – Kelly said: "If he [Ronaldo] was genuine, I think he should have turned around at the moment of the incident, picked Jake's phone up and been like, 'I'm sorry'.
"That was the biggest laugh for me: 'sportsmanship'. When you can do that to a 14-year-old boy. That's not sportsmanship at all."
She told the outlet that while Everton has been ‘amazing’ and offered her son game tickets, he wouldn’t want to sit anywhere near the stand where the alleged incident happened.
Kelly explained: "He'd love to go back to Everton, but he wouldn't want to sit there in the Park End [Stand] where it happened because that has bad memories for him."
The doting mum also said she’d been subjected to online abuse since speaking out publicly.
“I've been called all kinds... mainly from United fans," she claimed.
She is currently waiting for a liaison officer from Merseyside Police to visit her this week to ‘discuss the matter further’.
Merseyside Police confirmed they are liaising with both Manchester United and Everton to investigate the report.
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police told the Liverpool Echo: "Inquiries are underway and officers are currently working with Everton Football club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness enquiries 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."
Ronaldo’s full Instagram statement, released the day after the match, 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 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."
LADbible has approached Ronaldo’s representatives for comment.
Featured Image Credit: @evertonhub/Twitter
Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United