Edinson Cavani has apologised for a social media post which contained a Spanish term which can be interpreted as offensive as the Football Association looked into the Manchester United striker's Instagram story.
The Uruguayan posted the reply on his Instagram page on Sunday evening after he had guided Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to victory against Southampton at St Mary’s scoring twice in the second half.
The 33-year-old was replying to a friend’s congratulatory message but deleted the post after he was made aware of how the wording could be interpreted in the UK.
He shared some of the positive messages he received from fans in the wake of the victory and responded to one post with the message "Gracias n******".
It is understood the striker believed he was acting in a friendly manner with a mate and when it was brought to his attention of how it could be interpreted, he acted quickly to delete the post. It is understood United are aware of the post but have yet to be contacted by the FA over it.
In a statement, Cavani apologised for any offence caused, he said: "The message I posted after the game on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game.
"The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone. I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently. I would like to sincerely apologise for this.”
A statement from Manchester United added: "It is clear to us that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind Edinson’s message and he deleted it as soon as he was informed that it could be misconstrued.
"Edinson has issued an apology for any unintentional offence caused. Manchester United and all of our players are fully committed to the fight against racism.”
Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva was handed a one-game ban and a fine in 2019 after a social media post that made reference to Benjamin Mendy’s race and the FA deemed it was an ‘aggravated breach’ of its rules on social media posting.
More recently, Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli was sanctioned with similar punishment - a one-game ban, a fine and an obligation to undertake an education course - for a joke posted online relating to coronavirus.
The governing body brought in new charging policies and sanctioning guidelines for discrimination by individual participants and spectators at the start of this season and the minimum suspension, for people charged and found guilty of breaching the rules on social media, is three games.
The FA and United have not yet officially commented on the issue.
Cavani joined the Old Trafford side on a free transfer in October and has scored three goals in five substitute appearances in the Premier League.