Benfica defend Bernardo Silva over Mendy tweet and question FA charge
Benfica have defended their former player Bernardo Silva after the Manchester City star faced criticism for a racially insensitive tweet he sent to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
Silva has been charged by the Football Association (FA) after likening a picture of a young Mendy to the mascot of Spanish confectionery company Conguitos.
The likes of Pep Guardiola, Raheem Sterling and Tiemoue Bakayoko have offered support to the Portugal international, who faces a possible six-match ban if found guilty of racist behaviour by the FA.
Benfica, with whom Silva started his career before moving to Monaco in 2014, initially on loan, have hit out at suggestions that the 25-year-old could be in any way racist.
Can’t even joke with a friend these days... You guys...— Bernardo Silva (@BernardoCSilva) September 22, 2019
"Bernardo Silva is a young man who always been distinguished for his simplicity, his character and his good upbringing," Benfica stated in their weekly newsletter, published on the club's official website.
"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."
Silva has until October 9 to respond to the FA's charge.