Football

Ezequiel Lavezzi apologises for his club's ridiculously racist photoshoot

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The Chinese Super League has garnered some massive attention recently, mostly for the gigantic transfer fees and salaries paid for new players in the quest for boosting the profile of the division.

However, that's not the only thing that the league has been making waves for, as the bizarre disciplinary ramifications that are in place earned its fair share of headlines earlier in the year.

Earlier this season, player Qin Sheng was handed a six-month ban and a £14,000 fine for stamping on Belgian international midfielder Axel Witsel. Sounds harsh, no?

This was handed out to him because "the extremely irrational behaviour of Qin Sheng has severely tarnished the image of this club, the football of Shanghai and even Chinese football. All the efforts made by others have gone down the drain because of him".

Clearly, toeing the line in terms of discipline is an important aspect of playing in China, and the vast riches on offer come with a stern warning over a player's conduct.

But apparently, that doesn't stretch to everybody. Argentine international Ezequiel Lavezzi currently holds the distinction of being the highest paid footballer in the world but found himself in a spot of trouble last month.

When taking part in a photoshoot for his club, Hebei CFFC, somebody along the production chain thought it would be a good idea to have him pull a face that was, well, extremely racist.

The picture, naturally, caused a lot of offence and earned both the player and the club some serious criticism. Check it out below...

This weekend the 32-year-old issued a formal apology where he explained how the picture came to be and his excuse is pretty flimsy, to say the least.

"Per the request of the Chinese Super League, we took the official photos for the season," he said per Sky Sports.

"We were given instructions by the official photographer and I was trying to make some interesting photos by making some funny faces, which would be used afterwards for entertainment purposes.
I had no intention of insulting the Chinese people and did not do it with any bad intentions.

"I'm very happy to be here as part of the Hebei club. I have had a great time here with my team-mates and it has been a great journey. Every Chinese person around me is friendly and I love my life here.

"I deeply apologise if this photo has offended the Chinese public and fans. I will be more careful in the future."

You don't have to be a millionaire footballer to realise that pulling that kind of face, whether you're in China or not, is not a good idea.

The club also took their share of the responsibility when they replied: "Since joining us at the beginning of 2016, Lavezzi has been getting along very well with the team and been loved by fans too.

"He has expressed his love for China many times too. Now we have communicated with him and have clarified he had no bad intentions and he deeply apologised for any offence caused.

"As a club, we apologise for our neglect in our work. We will be more careful in the future."

Topics:
Angel di Maria
Angel di Maria
Paulo Dybala
China Olympic Team
Football
Argentina Football

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