Peru players clash with police in Madrid before Morocco friendly

Peru players and Spanish police officers got into an altercation in front of the team's hotel in Madrid on Monday.

Images on social media showed Peru players outside watching singing fans when one of the players was pushed back by an officer. The player moved the officer away and a small encounter ensued with other players and Peru staff getting involved with other police officers.

Peru is playing Morocco in a friendly at Atletico Madrid's home Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday.

"We wanted to greet the people and [the police] started hitting us," Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese told Peruvian TV.

Gallese, who plays in MLS for Orlando City SC, was taken to a police station for interrogation and later released without charges.

The Peruvian foreign ministry called for "an immediate clarification" about what happened from the Spanish authorities. The Peruvian federation expressed solidarity with its players and said it respected and would collaborate with authorities. It asked for its fans in Madrid to refrain from any violent actions.

Madrid government official Mercedes Gonzalez said Tuesday there will be an investigation to find out whether excessive force was used by the police officers, but she said they acted to guarantee the safety of everyone.

She said Gallese was taken to the police station because he assaulted an officer.

Meanwhile, a 27-year-old worker at a Madrid hotel hosting the Morocco team was arrested for an alleged hate crime after posting derogatory comments on Islam and racist slurs against the players on social media, Spanish police and the hotel said on Tuesday.

Local police told Reuters the employee, a waiter at the Spanish capital's five-star Eurostars Hotel Tower, asked players to take photographs with him. He then uploaded the images to Instagram with xenophobic insults and tagged the Moroccan team's account, with the post receiving over 70,000 views.

The man is due to appear before a judge shortly, police said.

Information from Reuters was used in this story.