Fans debate 'double-finger' gesture, Portugal defends Meireles

Eslam Omar, Tuesday 17 Jun 2014

What was Raul Meireles really doing during Sunday's loss to Germany - making an obscene gesture, or passing on instructions from Portugal's coach?

Meireles

Did Portugal midfielder Raul Meireles give the middle finger to referee Milorad Mazic? Or was he simply "passing on instructions" to his teammate?

Debate has swirled on social media after pictures circulated showing Meireles raising what looks like the third finger on both hands after the official Mazic sent off Real Madrid defender Pepe during their side's heavy 4-0 defeat to Germany on Monday.

The Portugal Football Federation (FPF) has officially defended the Fenerbahce player and denied any inappropriate behaviour, insisting that he was just gesturing a tactical switch.

"He was passing on to teammate Bruno Alves the instructions being relayed by coach Paulo Bento," said a FPF statement about the player, who sports a distinctive Mohawk hairstyle.

But thousands of fans across the globe are still sharing photos and videos about Meireles' moment, with some claiming he was obviously being vulgar towards the referee while others defended him.

Here are some highlights from Twitter about the issue:

@tomjackson1988 Not sure what tactical message Meireles could have been impairing with two raised middle fingers. Jump high twice?

@kellyhoney365 These pictures of Meireles 'giving the ref the finger' are stupid. Clearly its not his middle finger if you actually look!

@seidodge Hey Internet, You’re Wrong About Raul Meireles

@cheechello I dont think meireles is giving the finger in that pic! Looks like index fingers to me

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