Andres Iniesta has been a welcome boost for the Japanese football Photo: JIJI PRESS/AFP/File

Barcelona star Iniesta apologises over blackface photo


Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has apologised after posting a photo on social media with two people in blackface as part of Epiphany celebrations.

The 34-year-old superstar who currently plays at Japan's Vissel Kobe had no intention "to upset anyone by displaying that photo," according to a statement by his agency sent to AFP on Wednesday.

"He would like to apologise to those people who may have felt offended," the statement said.

Iniesta's picture on Twitter and Instagram posted on Sunday showed his family and a group of people in costumes, taking part in the Three Kings Day celebration also known as Epiphany, which is widely celebrated in Spain.

The midfielder, who lifted 32 major trophies and made 674 appearances for Catalan giants Barca, joined Vissel Kobe in May, calling his J-League move an "important career challenge".

The Spain icon's decision to choose Vissel arguably represents Japanese football's biggest transfer coup, with many top players now moving to cash-rich Chinese clubs in the twilight of their careers.

It also came as a timely boost to the J-League, which used to attract luminaries such as Brazilian great Zico and former England star Gary Lineker when it began in 1993, but has struggled to attract marquee players in recent years.

Iniesta -- who famously scored Spain's winning goal against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final -- had been top of the wishlist of Vissel owner Hiroshi Mikitani.

The billionaire businessman is also the founder and CEO of Rakuten, Barcelona's main sponsor, and was heavily involved in the deal that brought Iniesta to Japan.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Uh-oh! Somebody got their feelings hurt! Call an ambulance!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Uh-oh! Somebody got their feelings hurt! Call an ambulance!

There are professional offence-takers out there but the blackface thing is toxic.

Just...don’t do it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

but the blackface thing is toxic.

But was it really blackface? When i saw the pic, I thought Iniesta's mates dressed up as one of the three wise men, Balthazar (who just happens to be black), not as a 'black guy'.

In a way, wouldn't it be 'more' racist NOT to have a 'black' Balthazar as it would/could -sort of- imply that the Black king is of lesser importance (and therefore expendable)?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You guys just don't get it, and you never will. You Don't see black people painting their faces white if they dress as a white superhero or Something, and that's not even taking into account the history of the "blackface" 'costume'. And as usual, not much of an apology for doing it, just an apology for people taking it the way they did.

"Sorry you interpreted it that way and were offended," is not an apology.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problems with blackface are historical to the US. The usage of it that led to it being offensive is American.

But this is a different tradition, one in another country. If said tradition is racially insensitive in and of itself, it should be condemned. But if people are saying it should be condemned because of they history of it in America, they are out or place. America is America, and the rest of us don’t need to take responsibility for their actions.

For example I’d have no moral problem with dressing up as a block person I like for Halloween in Japan, including blackface. Same as I would have no moral objection to wearing dreadlocks (if I had the hair). Both of them would be emulating something I like, and I’m not going to feel bad because the Americans screwed it up in their own country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites