Cristiano Ronaldo apology slammed as lad’s mum hits out at ‘terrible’ Man Utd response

A 14-year-old boy who was allegedly “assaulted” by Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday afternoon has rejected an invitation to visit Old Trafford.

The veteran forward, 37, invited Jake Harding to watch a Manchester United game after appearing to smash a phone out of his hand following Everton’s 1-0 victory against the Red Devils. The incident happened when Jake was filming Ronaldo and his team-mates making their way down the tunnel at Goodison Park.

Jake’s mum Sarah has told the Liverpool ECHO that her son was left with a bruise on his hand after the incident. Ronaldo made a public apology to the young Everton supporter, who has autism and dyspraxia, yet Sarah was not impressed with it.

“United have handled it terribly and it’s just made things even worse to be honest,” she told the ECHO. In reply to Ronaldo’s invitation, she said: “The way I see it is, if someone assaulted him in the street and then asked us to go around for dinner, we wouldn’t. Just because he’s Cristiano Ronaldo, why would we do it? It’s like we owe him a favour, but I’m sorry, we don’t.”

Sarah went on to say: “We’ve kindly declined the offer to go to United because Jake doesn’t want to go there and he doesn’t want to see Ronaldo. He’s made that pretty clear.

“They’re not my words, they’re my son’s words. At the end of the day, this is what it’s about. It’s affected him more than it’s affected me, so I have put everything to him to make his own mind up on – he doesn’t want to go to United, he doesn’t want to go to see Ronaldo. All that I’m saying right now is that it’s in the hands of the police.”

Jake Harding has rejected Ronaldo's invitation to visit Old Trafford to apologise for the incident
Jake Harding has rejected Ronaldo’s invitation to visit Old Trafford to apologise for the incident

Merseyside Police have confirmed they are investigating reports a boy has been allegedly assaulted by a United player. The FA added: “We are aware of the incident and will be seeking observations on the matter from both clubs and the player involved.”

According to The Sun, United will not punish Ronaldo for the incident. They are believed to happy with his apology and are no longer investigating it. United have not confirmed this newspaper report and insist they will cooperate with the FA and police.

“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” wrote Ronaldo on Instagram. “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.”

Although Sarah is unimpressed with Ronaldo’s response, she has praised Everton’s efforts. The Toffees have offered Jake a signed shirt by Jordan Pickford and Richarlison, as well as match tickets and the chance to meet the club’s biggest stars.

“Everton, it’s the People’s Club and they haven’t half come through for Jake,” said Sarah. “It’s really cheered him up this afternoon. It was lovely to see because something nice has come out of something horrible.”

She continued: “He just broke down in tears when I told him what Everton were going to do for him. He just said ‘that’s why I Iove the Blues’. He’s going to get a signed shirt from Richarlison and Pickford and hopefully when things settle down with covid, they’re going to do a meet for him.

“He wants to meet Frank Lampard – he loves ‘Super Frank’ and hopefully they’re going to sort tickets for next week’s Leicester game. They asked us do we want to sit by where we were [for the United game] and that was a no straight away from Jake. He said ‘no mum, I don’t want to go back there’ – so we kind of do have a bit of a bad memory.

“We’re hoping that if we sit somewhere a bit more positive and away from the away side, and more of our home side, he might feel a bit more comfortable. I’m just pleased that he’s taken the option to go back to the game.”

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