Lisbon (AFP) – Portuguese coach Fernando Santos weighed in on Thursday to defend midfielder Bernardo Silva who has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over a controversial social media post comparing teammate Benjamin Mendy with a black cartoon character.
The Manchester City midfielder last month tweeted an image of a young Mendy alongside an image of the character representing the Spanish chocolate peanut brand Conguitos.
“It’s completely absurd,” said Santos at a press conference to announce his squad for Portugal’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Luxembourg and Ukraine.
“Bernardo Silva is one of the young people I know who has the best character and personality.
“What is happening makes no sense at all, he doesn’t deserve this.”
On the same day as the tweet, which Silva quickly deleted, the 25-year-old posted: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days… You guys…”
Silva last week sent a letter to the Football Association to apologise for any offence caused by the tweet and Mendy has written in support of his friend, saying he had not taken offence at the tweet.
City manager Pep Guardiola has also defended Silva and another of his team-mates, England forward Raheem Sterling, also spoke out in his defence.
Mendy and Silva have been teammates since 2016, having spent a year together at Monaco before they both moved to City the following year.
An Instagram video posted by Silva in 2018 has also attracted criticism for alleged racist undertones.
In the video, being studied by the FA, Silva asks Mendy, who is dressed in black, why he is not wearing any clothes.
Silva, who could face a six-match ban, has until October 9 to respond.