The Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has apologised for a post on social media which appeared to contain anti-Semitic and racist references.
The 24-year-old Balotelli quickly deleted the post from his Instagram page of Nintendo computer game character Super Mario.
Before his apology, the Italian had tweeted to deny the text of the post was offensive.
The Football Association has asked Balotelli for his observations and given him until the weekend to respond, while Liverpool say they will speak to the player.
The picture posted had an image of Super Mario with the heading "Don't be a racist!"
The text read: "Be like Mario, he's an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican."
It finished: "He jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."
Responding to criticism on Twitter, Balotelli tweeted: "My Mom is Jewish so all of you shut up please."
He also described reposting the image as "my unlucky moment".
However, he later wrote: "I apologise if I've offended anyone.
In September, Merseyside Police investigated racist remarks made to Balotelli on Twitter after he posted a message during Manchester United's 5-3 defeat by Leicester City.