Wednesday 16 October 2019

'I judge him on three years working with him' - Guardiola doubles down on defence of Silva after racism accusations

Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy were team-mates for Monaco before linking up again at Manchester City (Nick Potts/PA)
Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy were team-mates for Monaco before linking up again at Manchester City (Nick Potts/PA)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has again defended Bernardo Silva against accusations of racism following a controversial tweet to club team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

The Portuguese midfielder posted pictures on social media on Sunday comparing Mendy, with whom he also played at Monaco, to the character on a packet of Conguitos chocolates.

Anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out has called on the Football Association to take action against Silva, referring to the contents of the post as a racist stereotype, while the governing body has written to City requesting their observations.

But Guardiola has once more stood up for his player, saying: "The people who judge Bernardo don't know him. He is an exceptional person."

Silva received immediate criticism for the post and later deleted it, with a follow-up message reading: "Can't even joke with a friend these days... You guys..."

And Guardiola added: "If people believe Bernardo is this type of person they are completely wrong. They judge him on one joke, I judge him on three years working with him every single day.

"Benjamin is like a brother to Bernardo. That is what I see every single day."

City make the trip to Goodison Park on Saturday for a teatime kick-off against an Everton side looking to avoid a third successive defeat in the Premier League.

Guardiola's men, meanwhile, are still the talk of the town after their 8-0 mauling of Watford, although the manager does not expect a similar result against Marco Silva's Toffees.

"They are an incredible team with a top manager," Guardiola said of Everton. "It's one of the toughest games you can play during a season."

Since Silva's tweet, the club have confirmed the player has written personally to the FA expressing regret for any unintentional offence caused.

The exact contents of the letter are confidential but the Portuguese has pointed out that he intended the post as a joke. Mendy has also written in support of his team-mate.

Speaking further on the matter, Guardiola 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 going to happen again."

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