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Manchester United have denied that they attempted to cover up allegations of physical abuse levelled at Brazilian winger Antony by his ex-girlfriend.
The 23-year-old was dropped by Brazil after accusations of physical aggression on a number of occasions since January towards his former partner Gabriela Cavallin. Antony, who has made 31 appearances since Cavallin made a complaint to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in January, has denied the claims.
Cavallin’s lawyers have suggested to Sao Paulo Civil Police that United sent a player-support officer to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Manchester, where an alleged assault took place in January, and that the officer called for a club doctor to assess her injuries to deter her from attending hospital and arousing suspicion.
Her lawyers have asked Sao Paulo Police to investigate the support officer’s actions and have requested CCTV footage from the hotel, according to reports in Brazil.
However, Manchester United issued a short statement rejecting the claims. “Any suggestion that the club covered up these allegations is categorically false,” it read.
In an interview with Brazilian website UOL – which also published photographs and screenshots of messages between the pair – Cavallin claims she was attacked by Antony “with a headbutt” in the Manchester hotel room on 15 January, leaving her with a cut head which needed treatment.
Cavallin, a social media influencer, also alleges she was punched in the chest by Antony, which she claims caused damage to a silicone breast implant which required corrective surgery back in Brazil.
Another alleged incident is claimed to have taken place at a house on 8 May, with Cavallin saying she suffered a cut finger while trying to protect herself, accusing Antony of throwing a glass cup towards her as well as then taking her passport.
Cavallin is said to have filed a report to Sao Paulo Civil Police concerning allegations of physical and verbal abuse by Antony while on holiday in Brazil during June 2022, when she was pregnant, as well as making a separate complaint to GMP.
“Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony and notes that the police are conducting enquiries,” said an initial club statement.
“Pending further information, the club will be making no further comments. As a club, we are taking this matter seriously, with consideration of the impact of these allegations and subsequent reporting will have on survivors of abuse.”
Brazil have dropped Antony from their squad for their upcoming international fixtures but United have not said whether the player remains available for selection.
Writing on Instagram earlier this week, Antony, who signed for United from Ajax in an £85.5m deal in September 2022, dismissed the claims as “false accusations”.
“From the beginning I have treated this matter with seriousness and respect, providing the necessary clarifications before the police authority,” he wrote. “However, I can calmly state that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and the other evidence that will be produced demonstrate that I am innocent of the accusations made.
“My relationship with Gabriela was tumultuous, with verbal insults from both sides, but I never committed any physical aggression. Therefore, I come to vehemently deny the accusations made and inform you that I remain at the entire disposal of the Brazilian authorities to clarify whatever is necessary.
“I trust that the ongoing police investigations will demonstrate the truth about my innocence.”
Additional reporting by PA