Bernardo Silva claimed his tweet to Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy that prompted accusations of racism was "a joke" as he bemoaned the response it received on social media.
The Portugal international 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 responses from members of the public were quick to point out the racist implications of Bernardo Silva's post.
The tweet came less than 24 hours after Bernardo Silva scored a hat-trick in City's 8-0 victory over Watford, which saw Mendy make his first Premier League start since April.
Bernardo Silva deleted it before commenting: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…"
The controversy comes during a week that representatives from the Premier League, the EFL and the FA met with Twitter to discuss the racist abuse that players including Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Yakou Meite suffered in recent months.