A journalist from a Spanish newspaper says he did not intend to be racist when comparing Barcelona's Ansu Fati to a "young, black street seller" fleeing from police.
ABC journalist Salvador Sostres wrote a report about Barcelona's 5-1 Champions League win over Ferencvaros on Tuesday which read: "Ansu when running has something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street seller running away from police".
Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann was left angered by the report and posted on Twitter: "Ansu is an exceptional guy who deserves respect like all human beings. No to racism and no to ignorance."
On Thursday, ABC published a response from Sostres.
"My intention was to praise the beauty of Ansu's movement and his talent as a very young player," Sostres wrote.
"Some expressions were understood as racist insults. Nothing was further from my intention, nor the very favourable opinion of the player that I have expressed in all the match reports I have written since his debut.
"I deeply lament the misunderstanding and I ask forgiveness if anyone has felt offended."
The initial ABC article by Sostres read: "Ansu nearly scored, with a shot typical of a number 9, in which he perfectly turned his body.
"There's something gazelle-like about Ansu when he runs, like a very young, black street seller that you might suddenly see scampering down the Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona when someone shouts 'Water, water!' to announce that the Guardia Urbana (Barcelona police force) has arrived. Wild scenes in the heart of the city.
"This doesn't happen now because Ada Colau (the current mayor of Barcelona) feels the police are the criminals, rather than the street vendors, who no longer have to run off. It's also true that their business is suffering without tourists."
Fati, the Spain international born in Guinea-Bissau, has had a blistering start to the season and is Barcelona's top scorer with four goals in five matches.