Manchester City news: Pep Guardiola doubles down on defence of Bernardo Silva over racism accusation

The Portuguese’s controversial tweet to teammate Benjamin Mendy has been widely condemned by anti-discriminatory bodies

Mark Critchley
Friday 27 September 2019 14:00
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Guardiola comes to the defence of Bernardo Silva over controversial tweet

Pep Guardiola has doubled down on his belief that Bernardo Silva is an “exceptional” person and that his deleted tweet was “just a joke”, though promised that it will not happen again.

The Football Association are investigating a post made by Bernardo on Sunday which compared team-mate Benjamin Mendy to the mascot of Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos.

The governing body are also investigating a video posted by Bernardo in the summer of 2018 in which he asks Mendy, who is dressed in all black, why he is not wearing any clothes.

If Bernardo is charged with discriminatory behaviour, the FA are expected to recommend a ban and an education course. Incidents of racial abuse on-the-pitch carry a minimum six-match suspension.

Guardiola defended Bernardo earlier this week, claiming he is an “open-minded” individual who speaks “four or five languages”. The City manager said on Tuesday that the images Bernardo compared were “quite similar”.

Guardiola defended his player once again on Friday, reiterating his belief that the images were “similar”.

“Regarding Bernardo I was incredibly clear,” he said. “If they believe, 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. Nothing more to add.

“We judge intentions and I know the intention of Bernardo... It was just a joke. Benjamin is like a brother to Bernardo. And Bernardo is like a brother to Benjamin. It is the same, it was what I see every day in training.

“If someone is affected or feels bad about that tweet or any comments, so it can happen. People judging Bernardo don’t know him. He is an exceptional person. Exceptional. He likes to be involved in different situations.

Bernardo Silva has since deleted his tweet

“Focus on other issues, not Bernardo because is not absolutely guilty because his intention.. It was incredible… 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.

“Sometimes you feel and.. it was a cartoon. It was just a joke and that’s all. But if the people in the FAI (FA) think it’s the opposite then Bernardo and City are open to listen and to say an opinion. That is all.

“It is what it is. It happened many times and you have to condemn. Fight for it. What happened in the stadiums just because you have more money or different skin colour, or where you were born, you feel better than the other one, that is ridiculous.

“I was born in Catalonia because my mum and dad were there. I have no influence over that. I speak for myself. I don’t think I’m something special because of my colour of my position. I’ve understood that for a long time.

Pep Guardiola embraces Bernardo Silva

“Bernardo too, I spoke many times with him over three years with him, he is that type of person. Put the focus on other things, not Bernardo. 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.”

Bernardo has submitted a personal letter to the FA expressing regret at any unintentional offence his deleted tweet caused.

Mendy has also submitted a supporting statement saying he did not take offence from the tweet. The FA are set to reach a decision on the case in due course.

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