Shanghai Shenhua midfielder Sun Shilin offered an bizarre explanation for his public mocking of Alexandre Pato for missing a penalty.
Pato, who joined Tianjin Quanjian from Villarreal back in January for £15.5m, missed what could have been the game-winning penalty kick in a gane against Shanghai Shenhua which ended 1-1.
Sun Shilin caused controversy immediately after Pato’s penalty as he rushed to put his hand on the former Chelsea striker’s shoulder and repeatedly gave him sarcastic thumbs-up.
“I genuinely just wanted to thank him for his penalty miss. We held on for a 1-1 draw and everyone was exceptionally happy about it,” he told Titan Sports.
“I personally disagreed with the penalty decision and so did Pato. He missed the penalty intentionally and that’s why I gave a thumbs up to his face.
“I feel obliged to express my gratitude to Pato for his sportsmanship and the spirit of fair play.”
Sun Shilin’s unsportsmanlike conduct drew widespread criticism in China as previously in the last season he was also caught on camera flipping the bird at Beijing Guoan’s Turkish star Burak Yilmaz when he played for Liaoning Whowin.