“Per the request of the Chinese Super League, we took the official photos for the season,” Lavezzi said in a statement.
“We were given instructions by the official photographer and I was trying to make some interesting photos by making some funny faces, which would be used afterwards for entertainment purposes.
“I had no intention of insulting the Chinese people and did not do it with any bad intentions.”
He added: “I’m very happy to be here as part of the Hebei club. I have had great time here with my team mates and it has been a great journey. Every Chinese person around me is friendly and I love my life here.
“I deeply apologise if this photo has offended the Chinese public and fans. I will be more careful in the future.”
The photo sparked a social media backlash, with China-based football reporter Mark Dreyer tweeting: “This is Argentinian international Ezequiel Lavezzi, who plays his football in China. The year is 2017.”
Another wrote: “Get out of China and apologise.”