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23 Aug, 2022 16:34

‘Arrogant’ Ronaldo left young fan’s mother in tears – media

Sarah Kelly laid into the football star over the incident with her son
‘Arrogant’ Ronaldo left young fan’s mother in tears – media

The mother of an autistic football fan who had his phone smashed by Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed the Portuguese superstar left her in tears after a phone call.

Ronaldo infamously broke Jacob Harding's device by slapping it out of the teenager's hand when leaving Everton's Goodison Park pitch after his team had lost 1-0 there in April.

The incident allegedly left 14-year-old Jacob with a bruised hand. However, when speaking to British newspaper The Mirror, his mother Sarah Kelly claimed that Ronaldo has not offered to replace the broken phone nor apologized for his conduct.

Ronaldo accepted a police caution and was reportedly made to pay a £200 ($237) for his act last week.

Yet as Kelly feels that Ronaldo has gotten "away with it," she now plans to take legal action against the five-time Ballon d'Or winner despite a pair of phone calls reportedly from Ronaldo and his personal assistant attempting to dissuade her from pursuing such avenues. 

A day after the attack, Kelly says that a man named Sergio who claimed to be Ronaldo's PA rang her and offered Jacob the chance to meet Ronaldo.  

When she turned down the opportunity, Sergio allegedly asked her: "Do you know who Ronaldo is?"

"I told him, ‘Of course I do and the answer is no. I hung up and was shaking and crying. I felt intimidated. How dare they?," Kelly added, explaining that Sergio called her once more a couple of days later saying that Ronaldo wanted to speak with her personally. 

Kelly then described Ronaldo as the "most arrogant man I’ve ever spoken to," with the star first introducing himself by his full name before asking if Sarah and Jacob wanted to meet his family.

"I'm not a bad dad," Ronaldo is said to have insisted, which prompted Kelly to tell him she had never accused him of being one. 

"I had a terrible upbringing, I lost my dad," Ronaldo supposedly added, with Kelly stressing that everyone had a "sob story" and telling him that she also lost her dad young and had battled 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.’," Kelly went on.

"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.’

"He said ‘I’m sorry’ but then added, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’ He said he hadn’t ‘kicked, killed or punched anybody’."

Kelly said that this lit her "fire," making her rage and her heart pump. She claimed to have asked Ronaldo if smacking her son's hand and bruising it counted as not hurting anybody, and was then apparently told that Ronaldo didn't "want it in the media or press and the court."

"He said he had a good legal team, [and that] he would win and he would fight me all the way. He said he knew how to play the media," Kelly added.

"He asked me what I wanted from him and I just said, ‘I don’t want anything from you, the police are dealing with it.’,” Kelly, who launched a complaint with Merseyside Police at the time, revealed. 

Kelly was later sent Ronaldo's personal number, as he told her she would be by Sergio, but said that she came off the phone questioning herself and feeling that it was her and her son that had done something wrong.

"He had gaslighted me. I was in floods of tears," she recalled. "This was a police investigation and I was a witness. I felt intimidated and furious he had been given my number.

"I’m absolutely disgusted he’s got away with this. He’s not even replaced my son’s phone. Meanwhile the trolls have made my life a living hell," she said of internet abusers such as Manchester United fans who joked that he son had "probably robbed the phone anyway."

"It was disgusting. My boy has a heart of gold," Kelly said before revealing she has been scared to leave the house and is always looking over her shoulder.

"We were made out to be the criminals and Ronaldo the innocent victim. It’s been a total nightmare. I was speechless on the phone when I heard he’d got a caution. Talk about a slap in the face and a total misjustice," she lamented. 

Kelly stressed that she wants to take legal action against Manchester United and Ronaldo to "see justice because there hasn't been any".

"I want him to be held to account for what he did. The only way to get justice is to keep on fighting," she said, while stating that Jacob had not been swearing before the phone smash as previously accused. 

Kelly revealed that her and Jacob had arrived at Goodison Park hours early to see Ronaldo warm up because the youngster "idolized him"

After the incident, however, Jacob said: "When he did that, I thought, ‘You’re not a nice man and why me?’ He could have said sorry but he didn’t.

"He doesn’t feel sorry at all. I wasn’t swearing at him, my phone wasn’t in his face. I looked up to him but he didn’t set an example that day," Jacob, who Kelly says talks about the confrontation "every day"

In the days that followed the encounter, Ronaldo offered an apology "for my outburst" and offered to invite Jacob to Old Trafford which mother and son turned down. 

"Who would want to meet the person who hurt them?" Kelly asked.

Spending the summer trying to engineer a move away from United to no avail, Ronaldo was a substitute last night as the Red Devils achieved their first win of the season by beating the Mancunians and Everton's bitter rivals Liverpool 2-1.