Benfica have released a statement defending Bernardo Silva after the Manchester City forward was hit with an FA misconduct charge.
The Portuguese was condemned for a post on Twitter which likened teammate and close friend Benjamin Mendy to a cartoon used by Spanish confectionery company Conguitos, with many viewing the depiction as racist.
Bernardo quickly deleted the tweet, adding later that it was merely a joke between friends, while Mendy insisted that he took no offence from the incident.
In a statement released on Friday, Benfica said: "Bernardo Silva is a young man who always been distinguished for his simplicity, his character and his good upbringing.
"Wherever he goes, he is always missed and always ensures that the managers and team-mates who deal with him are unanimous in complimenting his happy and spontaneous nature. In Benfica, we are enormously proud of you, Bernardo!
"Turning a simple joke between two team-mates and friends into a tweet with racist intent and opening a misconduct charge demonstrates and signals a disease of our times."
Bernardo, who moved to the Etihad in 2017, started his career with Benfica, making three appearances in all competitions over the 2013-14 season.
The 25-year-old stands accused of an "aggravated breach" of FA rules by including a reference "expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin", which could result in a six-game ban.body check tags ::