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The Everton forward had described the Frenchman's controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration as "not such a big deal", but insists he was not endorsing the gesture

Everton forward Romelu Lukaku has apologised for defending Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' gesture and insists he was not condoning the West Brom forward's actions.

The Belgium international previously said he hoped Anelka would not be suspended after the Frenchman was charged by the Football Association – comments Everton quickly distanced themselves from.

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And Lukaku has now issued a statement insisting his only intention was to support Anelka, not the controversial quenelle gesture, which has anti-Semitic connotations, retracting his earlier suggestion that it was “not such a big deal”.

“I want to make clear that I was supporting a friend and player I have admired since I was a child,” read a statement from Lukaku on the Kick It Out website.

“I apologise if I caused any offence with my comments as this was never my intention. There has been a misunderstanding and I want to clarify that I was in no way endorsing the gesture made by Nicolas.

“I am proud to be a ‘Next 20’ ambassador for Kick It Out and will continue to inform young people of the harmful effects discrimination of any kind can have.”

Kick It Out added: “Romelu has clearly stated that he had no intention to support the gesture made by Anelka.”

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