Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Under fire
Real Madrid underage star apologises but claims controversial celebration wasn't racist
Federico Valverde is in hot water after making the wholly inappropriate gesture in South Korea.

FEDERICO VALVERDE HAS apologised for his controversial celebration during Uruguay’s U-20 World Cup win over Portugal on Sunday in South Korea but claims there was no ‘racist intent’.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who was signed by Real Madrid last summer, scored a penalty to level the game at 2-2 before running to celebrate.

He put his hands to his face and pulled the corners of his eyes, making a gesture known to be offensive to people of an Asian ethnicity.

Uruguay eventually won the game after a penalty shootout but Valverde was forced to apologise and he took to social media to explain his actions.

“It is not a racist celebration,” he said.

“It was a private celebration for friends. I did not have any racist intent. I’d like to apologise.”

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The former Penarol player has been known to use the celebration in the past for club and country but that hardly excuses the behaviour.

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