The Football Association announced Wednesday that Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one match and fined £50,000 for a racially offensive tweet directed at teammate Benjamin Mendy.
Silva has also been ordered to complete face-to-face education after admitting a breach of the football governing body's rule pertaining to social media posts.
The Portuguese international compared Mendy to a character from Spanish confectionery company Conguitos in the tweet, writing: "Guess who?"
Silva deleted the post 46 minutes after it was published. He responded to online criticism with another since-deleted tweet, saying: "Can't even joke with a friend these days."
A statement from the FA reads:
The Manchester City midfielder’s social media activity on 22 September 2019 breached FA Rule E3(1), as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, and constituted an “Aggravated Breach”, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin.
Silva and Mendy are said to be close friends and have been teammates since 2016 when they played at AS Monaco. Both transferred to Manchester City a year later.
City manager Pep Guardiola jumped to Silva's defense after the initial wave of controversy. He highlighted the strong bond between the two players and explained that it was just a poor joke.
He later issued another statement after attracting criticism for failing to condemn the offensive tweet.
"I know the intention of Bernardo," Guardiola said. "It was just a joke. Benjamin is like a brother to Bernardo and Bernardo is like a brother to Benjamin. It is what I see every day in training."
The 25-year-old Silva, who has five goals and two assists in 11 Premier League appearances this season, will miss City's league match against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Nov. 23. He will be eligible to return for their next league encounter against Newcastle United the following week.