Juventus’ Emre Can has apologised for comments about Cristiano Ronaldo’s sending off at Valencia, saying there was no intention to “degrade women”.
Ronaldo was dismissed during Juve’s 2-0 Champions League win after appearing to pull defender Jeison Murillo’s hair.
“We’re not women, we’re playing football,” Can said after Wednesday’s game, leading to accusations of sexism and calls for a ban on social media.
But he later said: “Everyone who knows me knows about my respect for women.”
In a statement posted on social media on Thursday, the Germany midfielder said he “wanted to clear the air” after his comments had “caused some commotion”.
“The comments made were never focused on nor meant to degrade women, women’s football or equality in any form,” added the 24-year-old, who joined Juventus from Liverpool in the summer.
“My intention was to stick up for a team-mate regarding a wrong decision which could have affected our game.
“I sincerely apologise if any of the comments I made caused any harm.”