Right-wing news site Breitbart News has apologized to German football star Lukas Podolski after publishing a photo of the 32-year-old former international player accompanying a story about human traffickers operating between Morocco and Spain.
"Breitbart London wishes to apologize to Mr Podolski," stated Breitbart in an editor's note to the story, noting that a previous version of the story had included an image of Podolski on a jet ski.
"There is no evidence Mr Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked," Breitbart said. "We wish Mr Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement."
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Published on Friday, the Breitbart article was headlined "Spanish Police Crack Gang Moving Migrants on Jet-Skis", reported how smugglers were charging 5,000 euros (5,900 dollars) for transporting each refugee from Morocco to Spain, which is a member of the European Union.
The original photo that accompanied the story showed Podolski in sunglasses, wearing the German national team's uniform underneath a life jacket and giving the victory sign, on the back of a jet ski.
The photo of Podolski, a former Arsenal striker who currently plays for the Japanese team Vissel Kobe, was actually taken in 2014 during the football World Cup in Brazil.