Manchester United’s young talent Alejandro Garnacho has been cleared by the Football Association (FA) following a review into his use of gorilla emojis in a post celebrating a victory with teammate Andre Onana.
In a recent stellar performance for the Reds, Cameroonian shot-stopper Onana was lauded for saving a vital penalty in a tense Champions League match against Copenhagen, sealing a narrow 1-0 win for United. Despite facing earlier scrutiny for some initial blunders since joining United, Onana was swarmed by grateful teammates post-match and received a wave of accolades on social media.
Garnacho’s subsequent social media post, featuring a photograph of the jubilant squad huddled around Onana with two gorilla emojis, was met with controversy and prompted an FA investigation into potential misconduct.
Onana quickly dismissed any negative connotations, interpreting the emojis as a nod to ‘strength and bravery,’ sentiments echoed by United’s manager Erik ten Hag, who showed no worry over any potential punitive actions towards the Argentine winger.
The FA concluded its probe, accepting Garnacho’s rationale that his use of emojis was to portray the formidable force of his peers, including Onana and team captain Harry Maguire, in their win. Confirming no sanctions would be pursued, the FA recognised Garnacho’s intention and announced no formal charges would be laid. They also pledged to consult with anti-discrimination bodies Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to foster understanding around the implications of digital communications like emoji use.
This decision arrives contrasting the FA’s previous action against Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, who was fined and suspended for an insensitive tweet back in 2019.
Garnacho, who played a substantial role in the team’s success against Copenhagen and continues to grow in his appearances for United, will look forward to contributing more as the season progresses. The teenager’s developing career at United has seen him start a few Premier League games this term, indicating his growing importance in Ten Hag’s squad.
Andre Onana’s display of goalkeeping prowess has been a significant boon for United, evidenced by his impressive record of clean sheets in his introductory season, despite the number of goals conceded.
With both players looking ahead, Manchester United appears to reinforce not only their defensive line with Onana’s skills but also their attacking prospects with Garnacho’s burgeoning talent.