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Police, soccer group continue probe into Cristiano Ronaldo for phone slap

Police, soccer group continue probe into Cristiano Ronaldo for phone slap
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in an incident with a fan in which he slapped a cellphone to the ground Saturday at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England. Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE

April 11 (UPI) -- Police are continuing an investigation into a weekend incident in which soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo slapped a cellphone out of a boy's hands, a Merseyside police spokesperson told UPI on Monday afternoon.

The Football Association, which governs soccer in England and is responsible for disciplinary measures, declined to say if Ronaldo would be fined or suspended, but is looking into the incident. Ronaldo apologized on social media.

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"We are aware of the incident and will be seeking observations on the matter from both clubs and the player involved," the association said Monday in a statement.

The incident occurred after Everton defeated Manchester United 1-0 on Saturday at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England. Videos posted this weekend on social media show Ronaldo, who was injured during the match, limping through the tunnel toward the locker room.

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Ronaldo, who appeared to be in pain, bent over to take a break and then continued walking until he saw the phone on his right side. The star striker slapped the phone to the ground.

Ronaldo apologized for the incident Sunday on Instagram. He also invited the boy to a future game. A Merseyside Police spokesperson said Sunday in an initial statement that its investigators will work alongside Manchester United and Everton to determine the facts of the situation.

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"As players were leaving the pitch at 2.30 p.m. [local time], it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch," a police spokesman said.

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"Inquiries are underway, and officers are currently working with Everton Football club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness enquiries to establish if an offense has taken place."

Manchester United will host Norwich City in another Premier League game at 10 a.m. EDT Saturday at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.

"It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

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"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game."

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