‘Ignorant idiot!’ Spanish football legend Iniesta slammed over blackface Epiphany photo
Iniesta, 34, who currently plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, posted the snap on his social media accounts.
He is seen sitting in front of friends and family, some of whom are dressed in costumes to mark the Three Kings Day celebrations in Spain on January 6.
Two of the characters are in blackface, following a tradition for at least one of the kings to appear as such.
After the post former Barcelona great Iniesta received a backlash on social media, with some demanding that he take the picture down.
“Just because it’s tradition, doesn’t mean it isn’t racism, just because it’s tradition it doesn’t make it morally right,” one person wrote on Instagram.
“If he wants a black king then a black person can be it, no need to paint yourself black.”
Another person wrote: “Wow used to think you were a cool footballer...now I know you're an ignorant idiot with no social awareness.”
Others writing on Twitter described it as “indefensible.”
This is horrible. And indefensible.— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) January 6, 2019
The World Cup winner appears defiant in the face of the criticism, and at the time of writing has not removed the photo from either Instagram or Twitter.
French international footballer Antoine Griezmann caused a similar storm in 2017, after posting a picture of himself in ‘blackface’ as part of a basketball star fancy dress costume for a Christmas party.
He later deleted the tweet before posted an apology, writing in French: “I agree that it's awkward for me. If I hurt some people excuse me.”