Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over a tweet he sent to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
Silva compared Mendy to the character on a packet of Conguitos – a sweet brand available in Spain and Portugal.
The Portugal player, 25, is alleged to have committed an “aggravated breach” of FA rules as it included reference “expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin”.
Silva has until 9 October to respond.
The post was published at 12:44 BST on 22 September but was deleted at 13:30, although he later tweeted “Can’t even joke with a friend these days.”
The FA subsequently contacted City for their observations, while Silva has written to the governing body to say he regrets the fact his social media post may have unintentionally caused offence.
Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out criticised the post and urged the FA to act, adding that “racist stereotypes are never acceptable as ‘banter'”.
In a statement on Wednesday, the FA said Silva’s activity is alleged to have been “insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute”.
Silva has been repeatedly defended by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who said it would be a “mistake” to punish his playmaker for the tweet.
England forward Raheem Sterling supported Silva against accusations of racism, saying it was “a situation between two friends”.
Mendy has also written in support of Silva, saying he did not take offence at the tweet.
France defender Mendy and Silva are close friends and played together at Monaco before both joined City in 2017.
A previous video of Silva joking with Mendy has also been passed on to the FA.