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Juventus midfielder Emre Can has courted controversy for his "we’re not women” comments backing team-mate Ronaldo, who was involved in the infamous red card incident in the Champions League clash with Valencia on Tuesday.
The Portuguese superstar received his marching orders in the 29th minute by referee Felix Brych for violent conduct, for what appeared to look a tangle in the box with the Valencia center-back Jeison Murillo.
Ronaldo was visibly upset with the decision and brought down to tears as he left the pitch. After been shown the incident, the Juventus midfielder Emre Can was asked to give his judgment over the referee's decision to send his team-mate off.
The German midfielder seemingly bemused the incident replied saying: That's supposed to be a red? I just heard that he said it was because of hair pulling. “We're not women, we're playing football. If you're giving that as a red card, you can be sent off for any foul. One hundred percent, that is not a red card."
However, his comments seem to have not gone down well with many, thus sparking an online meltdown, Many have branded the midfielder's comments as "sexist" and "distasteful" due to his reference to women.
In the wake of this controversy, the 24-year-old has taken to Twitter to 'clear the air' regarding his statements that have cause a stir on social media. Emre Can, posted a picture of his statement of regret which reads:
"I would like to state that the comments made were never focused on nor meant to degrade women, women's football or equality in any form. Everyone who knows me knows about my respect for women, equality and respect,” the German international wrote.
"My intention was to stick up for my teammate regarding a wrong decision which could have affected our game. I sincerely apologise if any of the comments I made have caused any harm," Can added.
Meanwhile, UEFA announced on Thursday that it had opened disciplinary proceedings over the red card incident. However, Ronaldo will have to wait until next week to hear the fate of the European governing body's verdict.
The five-time Ballon d'or winner was plotting a dream return to his boyhood club Manchester United. But, he could see his dream go down the drain if UEFA decides to extend the ban for more than one match.