Cristiano Ronaldo's tumultuous week has taken another dramatic turn after the Portuguese star was banned for two matches and fined £50,000 ($90k AUD) over an unsavoury incident with a young fan. It comes less than 48 hours after Manchester United terminated the forward's contract in the wake of his explosive comments about the Premier League club and it's manager.
Ronaldo - who is a free agent after his release from United - will be banned from playing for two games at whatever club he next joins, having also been fined for knocking a 14-year-old supporter's mobile phone out of his hands after a 1-0 defeat against the Toffees in April. Video footage taken from a fan's mobile phone captured the ugly incident which landed Ronaldo in hot water.
'HEARTBREAKING': World Cup reporter rocked by shocking tragedy
'SHOCKING': Japan stuns Germany in huge World Cup boilover
The 37-year-old was cautioned by Merseyside Police over the incident at Goodison Park on April 9, in which he was later charged by the English FA for breaching the league's rules. The FA said after charing Ronaldo: “It is alleged that the forward’s conduct after the final whistle was improper and/or violent.”
Ronaldo smashed the kids phone is pretty clear now pic.twitter.com/s1Pn24BXSU
— Hamza 🇦🇷 (@lapulgafreak) April 9, 2022
An independent panel has now handed down Ronaldo's two-game ban and fine, which will transfer to any subsequent club he joins, but will not be enforced at the FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo's Portugal get their campaign underway against Ghana on Friday morning (AEDT).
“Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for two matches, fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct for a breach of FA rule E3. The forward admitted that his conduct after the final whistle of the Premier League game between Manchester United FC and Everton FC on Saturday 9 April 2022 was improper," England's FA said in a statement.
“An independent regulatory commission found that his conduct was both improper and violent during a subsequent hearing, and imposed these sanctions.”
Ronaldo had tried to avoid suspension after requesting a personal hearing, arguing that his actions came after a “legitimate concern... for his own physical safety and wellbeing" after walking down the tunnel at Goodison Park. That argument was ultimately rejected by the panel who decided that his actions were born out of frustration at losing, rather than concern for his own safety.
Ronaldo took to social media after the incident - which occurred as he made his way down the tunnel at full-time of the Manchester United defeat - to issue a social-media apology for his “outburst”, while inviting the supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford “as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship”.
“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," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United part ways
The latest drama comes after Ronaldo's second stint with Manchester United came to an end this week with the club announcing it was parting ways with the Portuguese star, with immediate effect. Manchester United confirmed in a statement this week that they had come to a mutual agreement with the 37-year-old to terminate his contract. Ronaldo made 346 appearances for Manchester United in two separate stints with the club, netting 145 goals.
Ronaldo first joined Manchester United in 2003, going on to win three Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph before moving on to Real Madrid in 2009. After returning to Manchester United in 2021, Ronaldo scored 18 goals in a difficult last Premier League campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then caretaker managers Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick.
Ronaldo's exit from the club was ultimately sparked by his incendiary television interview with Piers Morgan, in which he said he felt "betrayed" by the club and "does not respect" manager Erik ten Hag. The Portuguese star has started just four games under ten Hag this season.
He also said that he felt people at the club were trying to force him out and that United showed a lack of empathy when his daughter was in hospital ill. There were also wider complaints about the standard of facilities at the club as well as criticism of the owners.
The Portuguese issued his own statement which read: "Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early. I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. "I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future."
The development means Ronaldo is now free to negotiate with other clubs. It is understood there are no restrictions on who he can play for under the terms of his departure agreement with United, nor are there any ongoing obligations for the Old Trafford outfit.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.