Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has insisted that he did not racially abuse Sevilla attacker Frederic Kanoute during Saturday evening's scoreless La Liga draw at Camp Nou - and hinted that the Malian forward is attempting to deflect attention from his own behaviour with the accusations.
Kanoute grabbed the former Arsenal ace's face during an incident in the closing stages of the game after the referee had awarded Barcelona a spot-kick.
The France-born forward later stated that Fabregas had made racist comments towards him - claims that the Camp Nou player has strenuously refuted.
"To cry racism is cowardly and an easy option to excuse your own poor behaviour. My conscience is completely clear. I've done nothing wrong," Fabregas said on his official Twitter account.
"I can proudly say that after many years in football, I always maintained the best relationships with my team-mates who came from different backgrounds, races, religions and nationalities. No-one has ever accused me of being racist or bigoted in all my years of playing in the game.
"There is a simple explanation for that. I have never behaved in that manner. I will not tolerate anyone accusing me of things that I'm not. If they are frustrated by a decision that has gone against them on the football pitch then there are other ways to deal with it."
The incident is the second such claim to have rocked the football world in the past month, after Manchester United defender Patrice Evra accused Liverpool's Luis Suarez of racial abuse during their Premier League game on October 15.