Cristiano Ronaldo's new low after smashing a young fan's phone

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man United homecoming was meant to deliver titles but it hasn’t lived up to the hype. Smashing a fan’s phone was a new low after touchline strops and storming down the tunnel… so will he even see out his contract?

  • Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United this season hasn’t gone to plan
  • He has scored 18 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions for United this term
  • However, the Red Devils sit seventh in the Premier League and will be trophyless
  • Ronaldo appeared to knock a phone out of an Everton fan’s hand on Saturday
  • The incident took place in the tunnel after United’s 1-0 defeat by Everton 

Cristiano Ronaldo hit the headlines again at the weekend. However, it wasn’t for the reasons everyone would have envisaged.

Ronaldo is used to leaving opposition fans in tears with his on-field exploits but this time he left one supporter devastated with an off-the-field act.

After Saturday’s devastating 1-0 Premier League loss at Everton, Ronaldo is alleged to have smashed the phone of one fan as he trudged off the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s season of strife at Manchester United took a turn for the worse on Saturday

Fresh footage has emerged of Ronaldo appearing to smash a mobile phone out of the hand of a fan after Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat by Everton at Goodison Park

A mum has claimed that the Portuguese superstar ‘assaulted’ and ‘bruised’ her 14-year-old son by swiping his mobile phone out of his hand at full-time in the Park End

Footage, which began circulating on social media after the Goodison Park defeat, showed the Manchester United star appearing to knock something out of a boy’s hand as he headed towards the tunnel.

Merseyside Police are currently looking into the incident after a mother claimed her autistic son was ‘assaulted’ and had her phone smashed by the 37-year-old.

Sarah Kelly claimed son Jacob Harding’s first trip to watch Everton was ‘ruined’ by the alleged altercation which happened as United left the pitch after the match.

Miss Kelly, from Upton, Merseyside, said her 14-year-old son was left with a ‘bruised’ hand after the phone was knocked from his grasp by Ronaldo, as the boy tried to film the United star’s leg wound.

Ronaldo has since apologised for his ‘outburst’ and has invited the boy to watch a match at Old Trafford, but Miss Kelly said the experience has left Jacob wary of going to a football match again.

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She said: ‘We were right by the tunnel where they came walking past – my son was there videoing them all. And then he lowered his phone because Ronaldo had pulled down his sock and his leg was bleeding.

‘He lowered his phone to see what it was – he didn’t even speak. Ronaldo then just walked past, with a terrible, terrible temper and smashed the phone out of my son’s hand and carried on walking.’

Miss Kelly took pictures of what she said was Jacob’s bruised hand and smashed phone screen.


Sarah Kelly wrote this message (left) at the weekend showing photos of her son’s bruised hand

The 36-year-old added: ‘You can see by the bruise that he’s made contact. I was crying, I was shook up, Jacob was in complete shock – he’s autistic and he’s got dyspraxia as well, so he didn’t really digest what was happening until we got home. He’s really upset and it’s completely put him off going to the game again.

‘Ronaldo’s a big player. My son’s always been like ‘Ronaldo’s going to be there’ – he’s an icon. I’d understand if Jacob was waving it in his face but he wasn’t near his face, it was down by the floor checking his injury. He’s an autistic boy and he’s been assaulted by a football player, that’s how I see it as a mum.’

Ronaldo posted an apology to his Instagram page on Saturday night.

‘It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,’ he wrote.

‘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.’

Ronaldo has since taken to social media to apologise for his ‘outburst’ after he appeared to knock an Everton fan’s phone out of their hand as he walked down the tunnel at Goodison Park

Merseyside Police confirmed that they were liaising with both clubs.

In a message on Twitter , they wrote: ‘@MerseyPolice can confirm that they’re carrying out an investigating following an incident at the #EVEMAN match at Goodison involving a player as they were walking off the pitch and will be speaking to all parties involved.’

While United are reportedly are no longer investigating the incident, as they are happy with Ronaldo’s social media apology, it is another stain on a homecoming that hasn’t yet worked for either party.

On the surface, Ronaldo is delivering with 18 goals in 33 appearances. However, appearances can be deceiving.

Now 37, it’s clear and understandable that this version of the Portuguese superstar isn’t the one that we have all been accustomed to seeing over the last 15 years or so.

Ronaldo’s return to United hasn’t gone as planned – despite scoring 18 goals in 33 appearances

He has looked sluggish on and off the ball throughout various times of the season – a fear many had when they questioned the decision to re-sign Ronaldo.

A natural-born winner, the forward’s second debut at the club began in dream fashion – scoring twice in a thumping 4-1 win at home to Newcastle on September 11 to wild fanfare.

He followed up that brace with a strike against Young Boys (in a 2-1 Champions League group-stage defeat) and a goal at West Ham (a 2-1 Premier League win).

A man for the big stage, Ronaldo’s next goals were dramatic late Champions League winners in a 1-0 win over Villarreal and Atalanta.

By the end of the year, Ronaldo had 14 goals in 20 appearances for the club in all competitions.

He scored 14 goals goals in 20 games in 2020 for United – including the winner vs Villarreal

However, 2022 hasn’t been as kind to Ronaldo. He has just four goals in 13 appearances to date for the Red Devils.

For context these figures are more than double his minute-per-goal ratio from 2021 to 2022 – with the iconic No 7 scoring a goal every 117 minutes in the latter part of last year for United, while it is now 275 minutes.

In fact Ronaldo is on a downward spiral if you compare his stats at United from 2021 to 2022.

Ronaldo is averaging less shots on target per 90 minutes (1.8 to 1.4) and a worse shot conversion rate since the turn of the year too (18.7 per cent to 8.7 per cent).

While the latter stat is damning, it’s particularly more so when you consider his expected goals (xG). Ronaldo’s xG for 2021 was 12.8 and he surpassed that with 14. So far in 2022 his xG is 6.8 but he has just found the back of the net four times.

The turn of the year hasn’t been as kind for Ronaldo though who has just four goals in 13 games

CRISTIANO RONALDO’S FORM AT MAN UNITED 2021 VS 2022

Year 

Games Played

Games Started

Minutes Played

Goals

Mins/Goal

Total Shots* 

Total Shots per 90

Shots on Target

Shots on Target per 90

Shot Conversion Rate*

Expected Goals

Expected Goals per 90

Assists

Chances Created**

Chances Created per 90

Passes

Passes per 90

Passing Accuracy

Touches in the Opp Box

Touches in the Opp Box per 90

2021

20 

18

1638

14

117.0

75

4.1

32

1.8

18.7

12.8

0.7

3

20

1.1

553

30.4

81.2

118                                            

6.5

2022

13

12

1101

4

275.3

46

3.8

17

1.4

8.7

6.8

0.6

0

13

1.1

358

29.3

84.6

81

6.6

*Including blocks

**Including assists 

His infamous histrionics were soon on show as he grew increasingly frustrated – a demeanour which could be looked at as disparaging to his team-mates. 

Frustration is the perfect word to sum up Ronaldo at present, with infamous histrionics having been on show – towards team-mates (when unhappy with them), towards fans (by storming off the pitch) or with the manager (when angered by interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s tactical decisions). He has been going through a period of personal frustration with his four goals coming over two games – however, his hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Tottenham last month was a reminder of his brilliant powers.

It would be unfair to lay all the blame at Ronaldo’s door though, with United a mess in general. Marcus Rashford is going through an alarming slump in form, Edinson Cavani has struggled for fitness all season, wantaway Jesse Lingard has been used sparingly and Anthony Martial is out loan at Sevilla. And then you have Mason Greenwood’s suspension, which is well documented.

The only positives in attack currently are Jadon Sancho, who is beginning to show the quality he demonstrated weekly at Borussia Dortmund, and teenage talent Anthony Elanga. However, that is not enough with Rangnick’s side seventh and drifting further away from the dreams of a top-four finish. They’ll also end the campaign trophyless after being dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid last month.

Ronaldo’s future beyond this season is currently unclear at Old Trafford. His former United team-mate Wayne Rooney believes it’s best the two part ways this summer.

Ronaldo threw a strop after being substituted during United’s 3-1 win at Brentford in January

The 37-year-old has reportedly had a strained relationship with interim manager Ralf Rangnick


Marcus Rashford (left) is enduring a bad run of form, while Anthony Martial is on loan at Sevilla

Edinson Cavani has been missed up front, but the 35-year-old is constantly injured it seems

‘You’d have to say no,’ Rooney said, when asked if Ronaldo coming back to the Premier League had benefitted United on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show earlier this month.

‘He’s scored, he’s scored important goals in the Champions League games early on in the season. He scored the hat-trick against Tottenham.

‘But I think if you’re looking to the future of the club, you have to go with younger, hungry players to do their best to lift Manchester United over these next two or three years.’

If this is to be a one-and-done season at Theatre of Dreams, the swansong has been more akin to a nightmare for one of the club’s most revered players.

United legend Wayne Rooney (right) feels Ronaldo’s (both pictured in 2007) return hasn’t worked

The United legend believes the club should replace Ronaldo with ‘younger, hungry players’ 




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