Chelsea send Kenedy home after China comments on social media
SINGAPORE -- Chelsea winger Kenedy has been sent home from the club's preseason tour after posting offensive comments about China on social media.
The Premier League champions issued a bilingual statement which read: "Chelsea FC can confirm that Kenedy has returned to the UK and will play no further part in the club's pre-season tour of Asia."
The 21-year-old Brazilian was widely booed during Chelsea's match with Arsenal in Beijing's on Saturday after his insulting Instagram messages were shared.
Chelsea issued an apology on Sunday, saying that the youngster had been "strongly reprimanded and disciplined."
Kennedy also made an apology of his own, posted on the club's official website on Monday, which said: "I would like to apologise to the people of China for the office I have caused. It was never my intention to insult or offend anyone at all and I now realise my comments were totally inappropriate."
Nevertheless, Kenedy arrived in Singapore with the squad for the next leg of the preseason tour and looked set to stay for the International Champions Cup (ICC) clashes with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
During Monday's news conference, head coach Antonio Conte reiterated the player's contrition when he said: "Kenedy understood that he made a mistake and he is sorry about this."
However, on Tuesday, it was confirmed that Kenedy had been sent home for the comments that are potentially damaging in the context of a tour that is all about building relationships with the Asian fan base.
After Chelsea lost 3-2 to Bayern on Tuesday, Conte called the situation "a pity."
"It's a pity because the player was sorry about this situation," Conte said. "It's a difficult situation for the club and this is why we made this decision. The player understood his mistake and is sorry for what happened. Now, we must go on."
Kenedy made just one Premier League appearance under Conte in 2016-17, and was sent out on loan to Watford during last year's championship-winning campaign.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK