Sergio Garcia: Espanyol forward defends himself against 'racist' claims

Sergio Garcia
Garcia (right) was a member of Spain's Euro 2008-winning squad

Espanyol forward Sergio Garcia has defended himself against claims he racially abused Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti in Sunday's Catalan derby.

Spanish media reported the former Spain international aimed a racist slur at Umtiti after clashing on the pitch.

They later had to be dragged apart by Barcelona captain Gerard Pique before reportedly clashing in the tunnel.

"In no way were my intentions racist," Garcia wrote on Instagram.

"In the tension of the game a lot of things are said that should stay on the pitch."

Spanish media reported Garcia entered the Barcelona dressing room after the match - which finished 1-1 - to apologise to Cameroon-born France international Umtiti for his remarks.

Samuel Umtiti
Umtiti joined Barcelona from French side Lyon in June 2016

"You all know my wife is from Gypsy roots and I grew up in a neighbourhood with every race in the world," Garcia added.

"My brother-in-law [former Espanyol player Jhon Cordoba], who I have a firm friendship with, is African-American too."

Garcia came on as a second-half substitute on Sunday and provided the cross for Gerard Moreno to head his side into the lead in the 66th minute.

Pique salvaged a point for Barcelona with an 82nd-minute equaliser to give them a nine-point cushion at the top of the La Liga table.

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