Romelu Lukaku attracted the ire of some Chelsea fans online after he shook hands with Kevin De Bruyne following the Blues’ 1-0 defeat against Manchester City.
The two Belgium teammates had contrasting afternoons at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with De Bruyne scoring the winner as City opened up a 13-point gap over Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.
Lukaku, meanwhile, wasted a glorious chance to put his side in front early in the game and was denied by Ederson shortly after the restart with the score still at 0-0.
Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne shared a handshake after the final whistle at the Etihad
The two Belgium teammates endured contrasting afternoons, with De Bruyne scoring the winner for Manchester City and Lukaku missed two chances for Chelsea
After the game, De Bruyne, who was substituted late in the second half, ran onto the pitch to greet his compatriot.
The duo shared an elaborate handshake and a quick embrace, before going separate ways.
A perfectly normal gestures among international teammates, but one which did not go down well with several Chelsea fans on social media.
Some accused Lukaku of ‘having no shame’, while others pointed out exchanging pleasantries with an opponent would have been firmly off the menu during Diego Costa’s days at Stamford Bridge.
Other fans questioned Lukaku’s commitment to the cause and urged Chelsea to cut their losses after shelling out £97.5 million for him in the summer.
The Belgian’s price-tag was a major talking point during the transfer window and even more so after Jack Grealish, who became the Premier League’s first £100 million player last summer, shone for City on Saturday.
Some Chelsea fans said Lukaku had no shame after shaking hands with Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian endured a difficult afternoon but embraced his international teammate
Scenes that would have been very unlikely during Diego Costa’s spell at Chelsea
There is no doubt the Belgian endured a difficult afternoon in Manchester.
Earlier in the game, fans on social media questioned his decision-making after he squandered a glorious opportunity to put the visitors ahead.
With just over nine minutes gone in the first half at the Etihad, Lukaku found himself in space after spinning away from John Stones and galloping towards City’s goal.
The Belgian’s price-tag was a major talking point during the game on Saturday afternoon
Some Chelsea fan urged the club to cut their losses and part way with Lukaku
However, rather running into the box and looking to test Ederson, Lukaku attempted to play Hakim Ziyech in with a through ball to his right.
The pass was overhit and never reached its intended target, while the flag was up for offside anyway.
Five minutes into the second half, Lukaku was again presented with an opportunity to give Chelsea the lead when he was 1 vs 1 with Ederson, but his effort was saved by City’s goalkeeper.
Lukaku was clean through on goal but opted to try and set up Hakim Ziyech instead
The Belgian striker went close to put the Blues ahead early in the second half at the Etihad
But he was denied by Ederson when 1 v 1 with City’s goalkeeper as the score remained 0-0
The Belgian became the most expensive signing in Chelsea’s history when he returned to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan for £97.5 million in the summer.
Since being dropped for the Liverpool game earlier this month for complaining publicly about his role at Chelsea and questioning Thomas Tuchel’s tactics, Lukaku has found the net just once in four games.
On Saturday, he finished the game with just 21 touches in 90 minutes, prompting Tuchel to suggest he should do more to help Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel did not mince his words when describing Lukaku’s performance at the Etihad
Lukaku was already in Tuchel’s bad books for the unauthorised interview he gave last month
‘We had eight or nine offensive transitions, but had zero touches in the box,” Tuchel told BT Sport.
‘That was a big problem today, the performance of our front players – a lack of position, timing and composure.
‘We lost too many balls too easily. Romelu Lukaku sometimes needs to do the service, he is included in this, he had many ball losses in very promising circumstances, he had a huge chance.
‘Of course we want to serve him, but he is part of the team, and the performance up front, we can do much better.’