Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to social media to apologize after allegedly "smashing" a phone out of a young autistic boy's hand following his team's defeat to Everton.
The Manchester United star, 37, was caught on camera throwing his right hand towards the ground, apparently with force, as he and his fellow players left the Goodison Park pitch following their loss.
According to Sarah Kelly, from Upton, the athlete had "smashed" her son's phone out of his hand, leaving 14-year-old Jake Harding "bruised" by the incident.
Ronaldo and others on his team were making their way back to their changing room in the parking lot of Everton's Park End at the time of the incident.
Kelly told the Liverpool Echo that the Portuguese striker knocked the phone, which belonged to her son, out of his hand and on to the floor.
Jake had been filming the Man United players as they walked off the pitch after the end of the game.
His mother recalled how her teenage son, who is autistic, then lowered his phone as Ronaldo pulled his sock down, revealing that his leg was bleeding.
It was then that the player supposedly knocked the phone out of his hand and then carried on walking with the rest of his team.
Kelly shared photos with the Echo which appear to corroborate that Jake's hand had been bruised.
EvertonHub shared footage of the incident on Twitter, writing: "Ronaldo smashing someone’s phone at full time."
On Saturday, Ronaldo took to Instagram to apologize for the incident, without confirming that he had indeed "smashed" the phone out of the teen's hand, supposedly leaving it bruised.
View this post on Instagram
He wrote: "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 apologize 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 continued to receive criticism in the comments of his post, with one fan responding: "U have to buy him a new phone too wth man ur supposed to be an inspiration to ur fans. [sic]"
Another slammed the reaction of Ronaldo's fans, writing: "What are people applauding?? You smacked a phone out of a child’s hand…"
A third penned: "Someone messed up and you guys are still praising him. Why?"