Bernardo Silva has been charged by the Football Association (FA) over his racially insensitive social media post about Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
The midfielder has until October 9 to respond to a misconduct charge, which relates to an alleged breach of FA Rule E3.
Portugal international Silva last month tweeted – and subsequently deleted – a photo of a young Mendy and a dated image from Spanish confectionary Conguitos that has been criticised for its racist connotations.
The post included the caption: "Guess who?"
Silva, after receiving staunch public support from City manager Pep Guardiola, wrote to the FA to apologise and is understood to be close friends with Mendy, who did not appear to take offence.
But the governing body has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the 25-year-old, with the nature of the tweet amounting to an alleged "aggravated breach" of the rules.
An FA statement read: "It is alleged that the Manchester City player's activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.
"It is further alleged that the activity constitutes an 'aggravated breach', which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin."
Guardiola has vehemently defended Silva's character, describing him as an "exceptional person," and City star Raheem Sterling offered support following the weekend win over Everton.
"It's between two friends as everyone knows," Sterling told Sky Sports. "I can see exactly why some people can get touchy on it, but in that situation Bernardo made a joke to his friend."
Benfica product Silva joined City from Monaco in 2017.