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(leaving the picture till last) :mutley: 

The Argentina international, who is paid £798k a week by a Chinese club, said he was told to pull "funny faces" by a photographer

Ezequiel Lavezzi has apologised after he was pictured making an inappropriate pose during a photoshoot for his Chinese club.

The Argentina international, who joined Chinese Super League side Hebei CF from Paris Saint Germain last year, smiled and pulled the corners of his eyes back in a picture which was leaked online.

The image sparked outrage among some supporters who claimed it was racist and called for the 32-year-old to be punished.

The forward, who is on a contract reportedly worth £798,000 a week, said he apologised "if this photo has offended the Chinese public and fans", adding he would "be more careful in the future".

He said: "We were given instructions by the official photographer and I was trying to make some interesting photos by making some funny faces, which would be used afterwards for entertainment purposes.

"I had no intention of insulting the Chinese people and did not do it with any bad intentions."

He added: "I'm very happy to be here as part of the Hebei club. I have had a great time here with my team-mates and it has been a great journey. Every Chinese person around me is friendly."

In a statement, Hebei CF apologised for "neglect in our work".

It said: "Since joining us at the beginning of 2016, Lavezzi has been getting along very well with the team and been loved by fans too.

"He has expressed his love for China many times too. Now we have communicated with him and have clarified he had no bad intentions and he deeply apologised for any offence caused."

Lavezzi is among a number of international stars who have made big-money moves to the Chinese Super League.

Hebei CF is coached by Manuel Pellegrini, who won the Premier League in his first season as Manchester City manager in 2014.

The Chinese club's squad includes former Arsenal and Roma forward Gervinho.

 

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