Many were left furious with the Spanish footballer's photograph marking the Epiphany festival, a religious celebration that commemorates the three Magi who brought gifts to Jesus Christ in Christianity. Others stood to defend the sportsman, arguing he had "absolutely 0 intent of being racist."
A photograph of Andrés Iniesta posing with two people in blackface caused an animated discussion on social media, with some immediately concluding that "racism is all over European soccer."
— Nick Bright (@NickBrightDJ) January 6, 2019
— Mpanza (@Sibu_MpanzaSA) January 6, 2019
— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) January 6, 2019
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Some commentators disagreed, pointing to a longstanding tradition of celebrating the Three Kings Day in Spain, which commemorates the Biblical story of traveling kings who followed a star to the birthplace of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem and brought him gifts.
— Skeptic10 (@skepticmitra) January 7, 2019
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Iniesta, formerly a player for Barcelona and currently with the Japanese club Vissel Kobe, is yet to respond to the criticism.