Twitter Outraged As 'Clumsy' Antoine Griezmann Paints Himself Black

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has apologized and called himself "clumsy" after posting an image to Twitter of himself painted black and dressed up as a Harlem Globetrotter.

The image, which has since been deleted by the Frenchman, was published on the social media site on Sunday (December 17) evening with the caption '80's party'.

Griezmann's followers reacted angrily with some accusing the 26-year-old of racism. One user wrote: "Careers are ruined over this in the U.S." while others urged him to remove the image.

Before he eventually did, Griezmann attempted to defend himself. "Calm down my friends, I'm a fan of Harlem Globetrotters and that beautiful era, this is a tribute," he wrote.

Griezmann is known to be a big fan of basketball, traveling to the United States to watch the NBA. In the end, Griezmann removed the image and the second post defending himself before issuing an apology.

"I recognise that this was clumsy from me," he wrote. "If I offended anyone, I apologise."

Griezmann has spent his entire career in the Spanish La Liga, which has had problems with racism in the past. Last year, one match between Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijon was stopped due to fans racially abusing Bilbao striker Iñaki Williams who was born and raised in northern Spain.

Griezmann has been with Atletico since 2014 after signing from Real Sociedad. But the Frenchman is expected to move to a bigger club in the summer with Jose Mourinho's Manchester United a long-term admirer of the forward, as well as Barcelona.

Representatives of Griezmann met with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu to advance discussions over a move to the Camp Nou in the summer, according to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

Atletico are still second in the La Liga table but are six points behind leaders Barcelona, while it was knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage and will now play in the Europa League.

They will face Copenhagen in the round of 32, with the first leg being played on February 15 and the second of February 22.

Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, Madrid, Spain, December 16. Griezmann has been accused of racism after posting an image to Twitter. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty