Manchester City's Bernardo Silva has been charged by the Football Association after the Portuguese posted a controversial tweet involving team-mate Benjamin Mendy in September.
Silva tweeted a photo of Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been condemned for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?"
Mendy did not appear to take offence, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see", but other Twitter users were quick to point out the racist implications of Silva's post.
The Portugal international deleted the entry before commenting: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…"
However, the FA looked into the post and the City midfielder has now been charged.
A statement on the English Football Association's official website reads: "Bernardo Silva has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on 22 September 2019.
"It is alleged that the Manchester City player’s activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.
"It is further alleged that the activity constitutes an “Aggravated Breach”, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin.
"The midfielder has until 9 October 2019 to provide a response."
Should Silva accept the charge, he could face a ban and a fine, while a failed appeal could result in a longer suspension and a higher financial penalty.
Several of Silva's colleagues leapt to his defence following the original incident, with manager Pep Guardiola stating that the pair are best of friends and that the post was merely a joke.
"Bernardo, or anyone else in my squad, do this thing for a joke," the City boss said. "Benjamin is like a brother to Bernardo, that is what I see every single day here.
"If someone feels bad for that tweet it can happen, but the people who judge Bernardo don’t know him. He’s an exceptional person."
Raheem Sterling, a figurehead for raising awareness in the fight against racism, also spoke about the incident.
“I can see exactly the point where some people can get touchy-feely on it, but I feel in that situation, Bernardo made a joke to his friend, you know? He’s not referred to his skin colour, he’s not referred to his lips, you know, in both pictures… they’ve both got small heads!"
“The most important thing for me, he didn’t refer to colour," Sterling added. "We all know, everyone can see that Mendy is a black lad. We’ve got to be proud to be black as well, if someone refers to our skin colour with an image, you can’t really be upset about it.
“We know what skin colour we are. He hasn’t referred to his colour, that’s the most important thing I feel about the situation.”