Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina was involved in a race row on Wednesday after a Spanish advert featuring the goalkeeper was withdrawn following complaints about its portrayal of racial and sexual stereotypes.

The club were apparently unaware of the video, an ad for the Spanish insurance firm, Groupama, before the controversy erupted last night.

In the advert, Reina is greeted by a black jungle tribe brandishing spears. The Liverpool goalkeeper - whose surname means 'Queen' in Spanish - is greeted by the tribe's chief who declares: "Me King, you Queen".

Reina responds with an arched eyebrow, before sarcastically saying: "I feel safe, la la la" - a strapline used by the Groupama in three additional ads, which also include Reina.

Pepe Reina

"I'm shocked on so many levels," said Simon Woolley, the OBV director.

The tribal advert is the only one in the series to draw criticism and it was taken off the air in Spain on Wednesday after a complaint from British pressure group Operation Black Vote.

"Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?

"Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade; does he think it's OK to characterise black people this way?

"Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke? It's back in the fifties this kind of stuff. They [Groupama] said they were 'going to withdraw it immediately but have done nothing wrong. But if you're upset then we apologise'."

Liverpool were highly criticised for their media handling of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra racism affair but have yet to comment on the latest scandal to involve one of their senior players.

"Given that Liverpool football club is trying to move forward from the Suarez affair, it is a shame that another one of their players has caused offence by appearing in an advert that seems to come from a bygone era," Woolley added.

"Those who are old enough might remember those despicable Zulu ads for cigarettes of the 1970s."