Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho leapt to the defence of John Terry on Thursday, insisting the controversial defender is not a racist.
Terry was handed a four-match ban by the Football Association (FA) and fined Â£220,000 ($356,722, 276,000 euros) after being found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand.
The 31-year-old has 14 days from receiving the written reasons for the decision to lodge an appeal against a decision relating to an incident that took place during Chelsea's match away to QPR at Loftus Road on October 23 last year.
"He is not a racist," said Mourinho, who coached Terry at Chelsea from 2004-2007.
"That's 100 percent. We (Chelsea) had a squad where we had 12 African players in the squad. It was a fantastic squad and he had always a great relation with every one of them."
In an interview with a TV channel, Mourinho, now in charge of Spanish giants Real Madrid, added: "But in football it can happen, and I know it can happen, that during a football match because sometimes it's more than a game and sometimes you have reactions that don't represent what you are really.
"Probably, he had a racist comment or a "racist" attitude against an opponent and, sometimes in football, we look to our opponents in the wrong way.
"But to pay, he has to be punished. But please, don't say that he is a racist because I know what I am saying...(Didier) Drogba will say, Geremi will say, (Claude) Makelele will say, all of them will say that he is not a racist."