London, – Cristiano Ronaldo will not accept the charge against him by the Football Association (FA) in England for throwing an Everton supporter’s phone, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said on Wednesday.
A video emerged on social media of Manchester United forward Ronaldo appearing to smash a fan’s phone as he left the field after Everton’s 1-0 English Premier League win in April.
The Portugal captain was questioned by Merseyside Police in relation to an alleged assault and criminal damage and received a caution in August.
The FA last month charged the 37-year-old for breaching Rule E3, which relates to “improper and/or violent conduct”, but the case now looks set to proceed to a hearing.
Asked if Ronaldo accepts the charge, Ten Hag told reporters on Wednesday: “We have talked about that. He will not accept it.”
Ronaldo issued an apology on Instagram at the time, stating: “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 will like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I will like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship.”
Ronaldo has endured a disappointing time of things on the field for Manchester United this season, having started just one of their opening eight Premier League matches.
However, he scored his second goal of the campaign in all competitions in Sunday’s 2-1 win at Everton after being introduced from the substitutes’ bench in the first half.
And Ten Hag is pleased with the way the superstar forward has gone about returning to top fitness after missing almost the entirety of Manchester United’s pre-season for personal reasons.
“I want to support him as good as possible,” Ten Hag said at a pre-match news conference ahead of Thursday’s Europa League group-stage match with Omonia Nicosia.
“We have certain demands from players, what we expect in certain positions. I want to get the best out of him and he’s in a better shape now and can contribute more.”
Asked if a lack of fitness is the reason Ronaldo has not started more this season, Ten Hag said: “At the start that was the case.
“It’s proven once again that no one can miss a pre-season.”
Ronaldo was brought on against Everton after Anthony Martial sustained another injury, with the forward yet to return to training as of Thursday.
“I’ve had several talks with him and I’m really disappointed for him,” Ten Hag said. “We’ll see how he develops ahead of Sunday (against Newcastle United).”
Ten Hag also confirmed Harry Maguire is still absent, while Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are “longer-term” absentees.
Manchester United beat Omonia 3-2 in Cyprus last week and are second in Group E, three points ahead of Sheriff and three behind leaders Real Sociedad.
Ten Hag’s side face a gruelling run of fixtures on the domestic and European front, but the Dutchman says it is important his side seal top spot in their group.
“I told the players weeks ago, before the break, it was important to win the group,” he said. “We want to win all the games. It’s clear, we want to avoid [finishing second].
“I think all the clubs that play in Europe have the same problem. We have a squad to cover that. Injuries and suspensions will happen, but you have to deal with it as a squad.”(dpa/NAN)