London (AFP) – Kenedy has been sent home from Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Asia as punishment for his offensive social media posts about China, according to reports on Tuesday.
Brazilian defender Kenedy was axed from Chelsea’s high-profile tour as the Premier League champions fought to avoid further embarrassment after the social media slurs sparked a furious response in China.
The 21-year-old put two videos on Instagram, one with a caption which translated as “F**k you China” and another of a security guard asleep which was tagged: “Wake up China. You idiot.”
Kenedy posted the messages ahead of a friendly against Arsenal in Beijing on Saturday and was jeered by the crowd during Chelsea’s 3-0 win.
Chelsea had already issued an apology after admitting Kenedy’s actions had caused “great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China”.
Kenedy, signed from Fluminense for £6 million ($7.8 million) in 2015, flew with Chelsea to Singapore over the weekend and trained with the team on Sunday and Monday.
But, with Kenedy accused by Chinese media of humiliating their country, reports claimed the Blues were forced to remove the player from their pre-season preparations as they look to salvage the club’s reputation and maintain their position in the lucrative Asian market.
Antonio Conte’s side are due to face Bayern Munich in a friendly on Tuesday, then take on Inter Milan on Saturday, and the Blues boss is certain to face a barrage of questions about Kenedy’s behaviour and his reported exile.
Chinese fans had already blasted Kenedy’s racist jibes, leading to an apology from the player who quickly deleted the posts.
“I would like to apologise to the people of China for the offence I have caused. It was never my intention to insult or offend anyone at all and I now realise that my comments were totally inappropriate,” Kenedy wrote.
“I wish to state that I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Chinese people and their country.
“I would also like to apologise to my club Chelsea and all my companions who I have let down by my posts. I fully understand the responsibility of representing my club and it was never my intention to cause this embarrassment nor disrespect.”
Kenedy’s outbursts could leave his future at Stamford Bridge in jeopardy.
The full-back was sent on a season-long loan to Watford last term, but made just one substitute appearance before the spell was cut short.
He went on to make two appearances for Chelsea after they wrapped up the Premier League title.