Chelsea fans booed UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin ahead of their Champions League title defence as the official presented four Blues players with awards.
Last season’s Champions League winners began their title defence on Tuesday night, hosting Zenit St. Petersburg at Stamford Bridge in their opening group game of the competition.
There was a special guest in attendance at the Bridge in the shape of UEFA president Ceferin, who made his way onto the pitch pre-kick off.
He presented four members of Chelsea’s first team set up with their UEFA awards, but was roundly booed as he entered the pitch.
Thomas Tuchel (Men’s Coach of the Year) Jorginho (Men’s Player of the Year) Edouard Mendy (Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year) and N’Golo Kante (Men’s Midfielder of the Year) all received trophies from Ceferin.
But the moment was perhaps overshadowed by the reception Ceferin received on the night with the official becoming a hugely high-profile figure this year.
Ceferin’s role as UEFA president came under scrutiny as he had to fight off the failed European Super League project, and is now in the midst of another battle.
The Slovenian has been pitted against FIFA and Arsene Wenger in recent weeks, with the federation putting forward plans for a World Cup every two years.
Ceferin appears to have come out on top on both issues, but he hasn’t been immune from criticism.
UEFA relaxed Financial Fair Play rulings this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to even more imbalance at the top of the game.
The wages dished out by Paris Saint-Germain for Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi and Gini Wijnaldum would unlikely have been possible in the past, and many of Europe’s richest clubs have broken their transfer records.
Manchester City paid a Premier League record £100million for Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, while Chelsea dished out a club-record £97m for Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
Stamford Bridge was in good voice after that awkward moment as Chelsea secured a 1-0 win over the Russian side, Romelu Lukaku heading in the winner.