Manchester United are at the centre of another case involving allegations of violence against women after forward Antony was accused of attacking his former partner Gabriela Cavallin.

The 23-year-old is under investigation by Brazilian authorities and Greater Manchester Police after Cavallin alleged Antony assaulted her on separate occasions between June 2022 and May this year.

Antony denies all the allegations but was removed from the Brazil national team squad following an interview with Cavallin, published by Brazil news outlet UOL on Monday.

United have faced calls to suspend Antony, just weeks after the Old Trafford club’s internal investigation into Mason Greenwood concluded.

United released a statement on Wednesday insisting they are taking the matter “seriously”, though stopped short of confirming whether the former Ajax winger will be made unavailable for selection.

Club statement.

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 6, 2023

Who is Antony?

The 23-year-old winger joined United in a €100m (£86m) deal from Ajax in August 2022 as one of Erik ten Hag’s first signings following his appointment as manager.

Antony, who had previously played under Ten Hag at Ajax, made 44 appearances during his first season at Old Trafford, scoring eight goals.

Born in Sao Paolo, he has played 16 times for Brazil, scoring twice, and was selected as part of their squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

He has started all four of United’s opening games of the new Premier League season.

Antony scores in the pre-season friendly against Lens (Darren STAPLES / AFP) (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

What has happened?

In early June, it was reported by Ge and TV Globo in Brazil that Antony’s ex-girlfriend, DJ and influencer Gabriela Cavallin, had filed a police report alleging the United player had attacked her four times.

Cavallin claimed that, in July 2022, she had ended their relationship and he forced her out of a nightclub in Brazil, helped by security guards, and pushed her into a car. She was pregnant and later suffered a miscarriage.

She said the couple got back together and she moved to Amsterdam, where he was playing for Ajax, and then to Manchester after he joined United a year ago.

Cavallin said that, in January 2023, Antony attacked her in a Manchester hotel room, cited two more alleged physical attacks in England and claimed the player had called her after she had returned to Brazil in May and threatened to kill her if he saw her with someone else.


Ten Hag and Antony worked together at Ajax (ANP Sport via Getty Images)

On June 19, in an interview with Record TV, Cavallin said she planned to report Antony to police in England for “aggression, failure to provide assistance, false imprisonment, psychological abuse. Everything that he did to me… I will report him formally.”

She also said that a United employee called ‘Daniele’ was “responsible for sending the two doctors to treat me” after the alleged incident at the Manchester hotel.

United confirmed this relates to Daniele Bertoli, the first-team player care officer, and that arranging a doctor for partners and family members of players is a common and standard task performed by the club’s player welfare team.

“Any suggestion that the club covered up these allegations is categorically false,” the club said.

Antony responded to Cavallin’s claims on June 28, calling them “a false accusation of aggression”. United did not issue a statement at that time before the forward traveled to the US for the club’s pre-season tour in late July.

On Monday, September 4, Brazilian website UOL reported further details of the alleged attacks on Cavallin, supported by WhatsApp messages, images and testimony supplied by Antony’s former girlfriend.

She said of the alleged Brazilian nightclub attack that he “put her in the car, repeatedly assaulted her and threatened to throw her out of the car at high speed”. She claimed he punched her in the breast on January 15, 2023, at Manchester’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, causing her silicon implant to flip over. She also claimed she suffered a head wound that night.

UOL’s report said Cavallin claimed Antony also “tried to attack her face with a glass” during an argument in May, which left her with a wound to a finger on her right hand.

She showed the website a message she insisted she had sent to a travel agent, as she tried to book a flight to Brazil, that read: “I need to get out of here before he kills me.”

Antony said in a statement on Monday night that “the accusations are false” and accused Cavallin of changing her story. The player said he had provided “the due clarifications to the police authority” in Brazil.

On Monday night, the 23-year-old was dropped from the Brazil squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru. According to Vanessa Araujo, described by the BBC’s North West Tonight as Cavallin’s UK lawyer, Cavallin made a formal complaint to Greater Manchester Police on Friday, September 1.

Antony, Brazil

Antony played for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar but has been dropped from the latest squad (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Araujo told the TV programme: “I believe the club will investigate because now we have the formal complaint with Greater Manchester Police. Gabriela gave her own statement last Friday and I believe the club will take some action now.”

Greater Manchester Police said on Tuesday morning it was “aware of the allegations made and inquiries remain ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this report”. The force added: “We will not be commenting any further at this time.”

Sportswear company Puma, which sponsors Antony and released a two-part documentary about the player on August 28, declined to comment when approached by The Athletic.

What has Gabriela Cavallin said?

“Today, he’s the total opposite of the person I first met,” she said about Antony on Record TV. “An extremely aggressive person. Extremely impatient. Extremely selfish.

“From the start, (there was) always a lot of insecurity when it came to me going out alone or spending time with my friends. Sometimes I slept, for example, and left my phone on silent. When I woke up there would be 30 missed calls, a million messages asking where I was, what I was doing. It was annoying but I put up with it because I tried to understand it from the other side. I thought, ‘He likes me, he’s in love,’ and so on.

“I saw the love but I was worried that it was not just love, but possession, obsession, everything that comes with that excessive jealousy and the excessive control he tried to have over me. Excessive control in all aspects.”

What has Antony said?

On June 28, a statement was posted on Antony’s Instagram account: “To the friends, fans and followers. For you, after having given my statement at the police station where the investigation involving my name is being conducted, I wanted to speak publicly for the first time since I was falsely accused of assault.

“I kept quiet until the moment so that nothing could interfere with the investigative process, but during all these days I and my family have suffered in silence. Even though I was born and raised in a very poor community, I had never been through a situation similar to this one, in which a false accusation of aggression generated a prior unfair public judgement by some people.

“After the closure of the investigation, my innocence will be proved, and it is certain that justice will prevail and the damage initially caused to my image will be left in the past. I thank you for the countless messages of support received during this very difficult moment.”

Antony featured in the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last weekend (Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

On Monday, following Cavallin’s interview, another statement released on Antony’s social media accounts read: “Out of respect for my fans, friends and family I feel obligated to speak publicly about the false accusations I have been a victim of.

“From the beginning I have handled this issue seriously and respectfully, providing the due clarifications to the police authority. The police inquest is under cover of justice, and therefore I cannot make its content public.

“However, I can say with confidence that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and more to be produced show that I am innocent of the accusations made. My relationship with Ms. Gabriela was tumultuous, with verbal offenses from both sides, but I never practiced any physical aggression.

“Every time, whether in testimony or in interview, she presents a different version of the accusations.”

What have the Brazilian Football Confederation said?

On Monday evening, Antony was dropped from the Brazil national team squad.

A statement by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) read: “Due to the facts that became public this Monday (04/09), involving striker Antony, from Manchester United, and which need to be investigated, and in order to preserve the alleged victim, the player, the Brazilian team and the CBF, the entity informs that the athlete has been withdrawn from the Brazilian team.”

What have Manchester United said?

A club statement on Wednesday read: “Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony and notes that the police are conducting enquiries. 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.”

This was the club’s first public acknowledgement of the accusations against Antony, having previously referred back to the player’s statements.

On August 25, United manager Ten Hag was asked whether the allegations against Antony that had been made in Brazil were a concern.

He said: “No. The outcome in Brazil was clear, he is doing a good pre-season, he is also scoring some goals. He is more often in the situations where he is a threat for the opposition. Not only a threat but also in the key moments, he is there where he should have been. Now he has to finish.

Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag said the allegations were not a concern (Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“In pre-season he scored two goals, also one assist. He is (in) a good direction, now he has to speed up, because for us good is not good enough. Don’t get distracted, focus on football and performing.”

What are United’s options?

United say they have listened and taken learnings from criticism of their handling of the Mason Greenwood case, including external expert advice from Women’s Aid and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).

Women’s Aid, a charity to support women who have suffered domestic or sexual abuse, have been speaking to United over the past few weeks and met with representatives from the club after The Athletic revealed United had told executives of their plan to bring back Greenwood.

Teresa Parker, who developed the Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign for the charity, said: “Domestic abuse is prevalent in our society and all employers, including football clubs, need clear policies and procedures about what to do when allegations are made against an employee. In every alleged domestic abuse case, safeguarding is vital, to ensure the safety of everyone involved while proceedings are ongoing.

United say they have learnt from their experience with Greenwood (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“When the alleged perpetrator is a high-profile footballer, we know from survivors of domestic abuse that this has an impact on both football fans and wider society, who can see them playing and celebrated on the pitch as a sign that the issue is not being taken seriously.”

In Greenwood’s case, United announced he would not be eligible for selection after images and audio emerged on social media on January 30, 2022. The forward was arrested later that day on suspicion of rape and assault and has not played for the club since — although he continued to receive his £75,000-a-week wages.

When all charges against him were dropped in February 2023, all of which Greenwood denied, United began an internal investigation. They announced this had concluded on August 21 and it had “been mutually agreed that it would be most appropriate” for the 21-year-old to resume his career “away from Old Trafford”. Greenwood joined Spanish side Getafe on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day.

Greenwood’s case reminds us there is no precedent for United here, and no governing body — be that the English Football Association or the Premier League — to intervene. Unlike in many U.S. professional sports, there is no policy and or strict rules that organisers have to be informed if an allegation is made against a player.



The day Mason Greenwood was welcomed back to football by Getafe

Maheta Molango, chief executive of the PFA, met with United officials on Wednesday to discuss Antony’s situation. It is standard practice for the players’ union to offer help in such circumstances.

The club sought to establish the facts around the case after the initial allegations were made by Cavallin in Brazilian media in June, which included speaking to Antony, but did not set up a formal inquiry and have now stepped back to allow the judicial process to take place.

What happens now?

Police in Sao Paulo and Greater Manchester are investigating the claims, all of which Antony has denied.

The player is believed to have flown back to Brazil ahead of his anticipated call-up for his country, and has some time off during the international break. United’s next match, at home in the Premier League against Brighton & Hove Albion, is on September 16.

Under the terms of the standard Premier League contract, which has been in place since a collective bargaining agreement was reached with the PFA in 2003, clubs can only suspend players for a maximum of 14 days. But United could decide not to consider Antony eligible for selection — and continue to pay his wages — if they wished.

United declined to comment when asked if their position would change if Antony were to be arrested.

Additional contributors: Adam Crafton and Laurie Whitwell

(Photo: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)