Bernardo Silva has written to the Football Association expressing regret at any unintentional offence his controversial tweet to Benjamin Mendy has caused.
Anti-discriminatory organisation Kick It Out this week called on the FA to take action after Manchester City playmaker Silva compared team-mate Mendy to the character on a packet of Conguitos chocolates.
Silva maintains the social media posting was intended as a joke but accepts it may have caused offence.
The FA requested City’s observations on the matter and the club have now confirmed Silva has personally written to the governing body expressing regret. Mendy, who has said he was not offended by the post, has also written in support of his team-mate.
City manager Pep Guardiola, again asked about the issue at his latest press conference, said: “It was a simple joke but if someone is offended I can understand it. Bernardo is maybe going to take a lesson and it’s not to happen again.”
Silva could face a ban if found guilty of discriminatory behaviour.
Amid the furore caused by the tweet, a further video has emerged of Silva asking Mendy why he is naked while wearing a black T-shirt.
Guardiola, however, has staunchly defended 25-year-old Silva, who was a team-mate of Mendy at Monaco before the pair joined City in 2017.
He spoke up for the player after Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win at Preston and did so again as he met media to preview Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton.
“People judging Bernardo don’t know him,” said Guardiola. “He is an exceptional person. Exceptional.
“Focus on other issues, not Bernardo, because he is absolutely not guilty. It was just a joke. It’s a cartoon and the face is quite similar.
“The same happened a thousand million times with white people. It’s the same. If the people believe that Bernardo is this type of player they are completely wrong.
“They judged one joke. I judge three years every single day with him and how he is and his friendship. Benjamin is like a brother to Bernardo. And Bernardo is like a brother to Benjamin.”
Guardiola admits he cannot control players’ use of social media, but urges them to take care over what they post.
Guardiola said: “Always I say respect your club, respect your families. When you send a tweet try not to offend your mates, your club, the opponents. Make it fun, to help to be a better society, but I am not there to control it. That is not going to happen. It is part of our lives.
“When I was born there was no internet and I did not use social media but if I was 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 years old, or interested in social media when I was young, I would have it like they use it.”
The Silva issue quickly took the attention away from City’s 8-0 hammering of Watford last weekend.
The champions will look to follow up that win as they face an Everton side at Goodison Park that have lost three of their last four Premier League games.
That run has increased pressure on manager Marco Silva but Guardiola insists the recent results matter little.
He said: “They are an incredible team with a top manager. Playing at Goodison Park is one of the toughest games you can play and we know it.
“We’ve prepared for that. The players know how difficult it is.”
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