Manchester United player Alessia Russo took to the stage to accept her trophy for winning goal of the season at Manchester United's annual awards ceremony Monday evening.
What should have been a proud and joyful moment for Russo quickly turned into an awkward moment, which left many fans upset.
As Russo walked onto the stage to collect her trophy from Manchester United's foundations chief executive John Shiels, the two engaged in an awkward interaction.
Shiels held back from handing Russo the trophy as it was ''so heavy'' for her to hold, leaving Russo looking uncomfortable and embarrassed.
What Exactly Happened With Alessia Russo
In a video that has been shared numerous times on social media. Shiels can be heard saying ''I'm not going to give this trophy to Alessia because it's so heavy'' and ''I’ve just been in a weight training session.”
He then tried to pass the trophy onto another man before the host of the night, Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves quickly replied with “I think you can take it quite happily, can’t you?”
Shiels then slowly handed the trophy over to Alessia Russo, implying that it was heavy and should be held with extreme caution.
This resulted in Russo standing there awkwardly not knowing whether to take her award or not.
He then offered to take it back from Russo when she jokingly said with a smile “it is quite heavy!”.
Second hand embarrassment from this.
Alessia looks so uncomfortable & embarrassed. Unfortunately still people out there who treat female athletes differently🤦🏻♂️
Such an unnecessary comment to make. #MUWomen pic.twitter.com/nw5MWGfOfX
— Conner Roberts (@ConnerRoberts_) May 29, 2023
Shiels the chief executive of Man United's charity arm has since apologised for the comments he made during the ceremony. He said he is ''mortified'' over what he said to Russo.
I am mortified by this and want to apologise to Alessia, her teammates, and anyone else offended.
I alerted Alessia to the weight of the trophy because I was shocked by how heavy it felt, and would have done the same if presenting to a male player. (2/4)
— John Shiels MBE (@JohnShielsMU) May 30, 2023
The 24-year-old England international had a remarkable 2022/23 season for both the Lionesses and Man Utd. Russo who won Goal of the Tournament at the 2022 Women's Euros, which also saw England crowned champions added to her trophy collection on Monday evening.
The United player was recognised for her outstanding season with the Red Devils, which saw her net 12 goals in all competitions. She secured the Inaugural Women's goal of the season for her stoppage-time winner against Arsenal in the WSL.