The mother of the 14-year-old autistic boy whose phone was smashed by Cristiano Ronaldo has branded the superstar as ‘arrogant’ and plans to take him to court.
Following Manchester United’s defeat to Everton at Goodison Park last season, Ronaldo appeared to slap the hand of Jacob Harding as he stormed down the tunnel, damaging the boy’s phone.
The 37-year-old apologised afterwards but was interviewed by police in relation to alleged assault and criminal damage and received a caution.
Jacob’s mother Sarah Kelly says that she declined the opportunity to meet Ronaldo after the incident but was then phoned by the Portuguese forward which led to a remarkable 10-minute exchange in which he pleaded for sympathy.
‘He asked me if I would like to come down and meet his family,’ she told The Mirror. He said, “I’m not a bad dad”. I said to him, ‘I never said you were a bad dad.’
‘He said, ‘I had a terrible upbringing, I lost my dad’. I said to him, ‘Everybody has a sob story Ronaldo, I lost my dad young, I’ve had cancer’.
‘He kept calling me Jack and didn’t even know my name and I said, ‘My name is Sarah’ and he said, ‘Oh, Sarah, I’m sorry’.
‘He never referred to Jacob by his name either, it was always ‘the boy’. ‘I know the boy’s got problems’, he said. I told him, ‘He hasn’t got a problem, he has a disability, you’re the one with the problem’.
Sarah described Ronaldo as the ‘most arrogant man I’ve ever spoken to’ and feels that he has ‘got away with it’.
The Merseyside mother plans to take legal action against the star and United.
Ronaldo posted an apology to his Instagram page after the incident in April.
‘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.’