Declan Rice has faced accusations of “putting on a show for the cameras” as he prepares for his maiden appearance in the Champions League.
Arsenal is set to host PSV Eindhoven, a team that defeated them in the Europa League group stage in the previous season, at the Emirates Stadium in Europe’s top-tier club competition.
Mikel Arteta’s squad finds itself in Group B, alongside Sevilla and Lens, marking their return to the Champions League for the first time since 2017 when Arsene Wenger was at the helm.
Find someone who looks at you like Declan Rice looks at the Champions League ball 😍 pic.twitter.com/rXRJGKxFas
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 19, 2023
Arsenal’s previous outing in the Champions League was a disappointing 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich. However, the Gunners, who were finalists in 2006, now boast a talented squad capable of competing with the elite clubs once more.
In Wednesday night’s match, Arsenal may field several players making their Champions League debuts, including their club-record signing, Declan Rice, acquired for £105 million.
Despite his prior success in Europe, leading West Ham to victory in the Conference League last season, his upcoming appearance will truly mark his arrival on the grand stage of top-tier European football.
And prior to the game, Rice has been panned for his reaction to being handed an Adidas Champions League balls which Arsenal were training with.
Emile-Smith Rowe handed Rice the ball and he held it in hand, pausing for a while and smiling.
The video went viral but plenty reckon Rice was playing up for the cameras, which were filming the session.
One fan reacted: “Mate they’re sold in JD and sports direct. Stop playing up for the camera.”
A second said: “It’s a football, mate.”
A third concurred: “Bro’s just strutting for the camera.”
A fourth fan added: “Smith Rowe even goes stop playing up for the camera.”
Another went in, writing: “Imagine looking at a football like it’s the love of your life.”
A final user simply asked: “What is bro doing?”
Rice will probably be excused when he hears the Champions League anthem for the first time, however.
Newcastle United’s Jacob Murphy had a beaming smile when it blared out at the San Siro prior to the Magpies’ first Champions League fixture for 20 years.