Spanish football club Real Madrid backed its captain Sergio Ramos over his recent controversial goal-scoring celebration against Sevilla.
Central defender Ramos on Thursday ignited a controversy after sarcastically cupping his ears following his conversion of a penalty kick, which he scored "Panenka-style" against his former team, reports Efe.
"Real Madrid wishes to express its total and absolute support for our captain Sergio Ramos, whose behaviour is and has always been exemplary throughout his career," a statement said on Saturday.
Ramos' gesture came after Sevilla's most radical fans subjected the Spanish player to persistent verbal abuse, including derogatory references towards his mother and spouse.
"Real Madrid has been inflexible when it comes to applying with absolute firmness its "zero tolerance" policy against violent individuals," the statement added.
The communique said that Real Madrid has been forceful in its rejection of those who, with their behaviour, gravely tarnish the image that soccer should project.
"This sport must be a place to gather and unite instead of one for insults, the throwing of objects or any other manifestations of violence," it added.
On the other hand, Sevilla on Friday released a statement on its website calling for sanctions against Ramos.
"Sevilla FC has decided to formally request La Liga that it report to the Spanish Soccer Federation and the state's Anti-Violence Commission the gestures made by Sergio Ramos during his celebration of a goal, which could constitute a violation of the federation's disciplinary code," the statement said.
The Andalusian club, however, distanced itself from the insulting chants sung by some of the fans at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
"At the same time, Sevilla FC wants to make clear that it condemns the insults the player received, which cannot be justified or protected in any case, and we reiterate that Sevilla fans should eradicate insults both towards clubs and opposing players," said the statement.
"It is something that only deteriorates the club's image and can carry serious sanctions," it added.
Sevilla also expressed its wish to "transmit our unwavering commitment against violence and compliance with the laws that regulate the obligations of sports clubs in preventing and eradicating violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance from sport."