Chile international Valdes apologizes for derogatory gesture

SEOUL, South Korea — Chile international Diego Valdes has apologized for creating a racism controversy in South Korea ahead of the friendly game between the teams on Tuesday.

The midfielder appeared to make a derogatory gesture with his eyes while posing with a South Korean fan on Monday for a photograph that has been widely circulated by South Korean media.

"In relation to the photograph that has appeared on social media, it was never my intention to offend and I offer my apologies to anyone that could have been offended," Valdes, who plays for Mexican club Monarcas Morelia, wrote on social media.

Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda refused to comment when asked in the media conference ahead of the game at Suwon World Cup Stadium south of Seoul.

"This is a press conference to talk about soccer," Rueda said. "I am not here to talk about things not related to soccer."

It is not the first such controversy in South Korea involving South American teams. In November 2017, Colombia's Edwin Cardona made a similar gesture to South Korea captain Ki Sung-yueng during a friendly and was banned for five games by FIFA.

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