Bukayo Saka was the target of early jibes by his England team-mates after arriving at St. George's Park for international duty this week. The Arsenal winger's blossoming friendship with reality TV star Kim Kardashian made the headlines during her European football tour with her son Saint.
Kardashian was a surprise guest at the Emirates Stadium last Thursday to watch Arsenal in Europa League action with Saint and a group of friends.
The 42-year-old was spotted looking delighted as she filmed Saka's penalty in the shoot-out, which Sporting CP won 5-4 to dump the Gunners out in the last 16.
Saka is reportedly her son's favourite player, and he made his trip memorable by offering him a shirt while on FaceTime with the group after the game.
Despite the kind gesture, the 21-year-old couldn't escape jokes from West Ham United captain Declan Rice and Manchester United's Luke Shaw as he reported for England duty.
As Saka entered the room where the pair were sat, Rice joked: "He's been on FaceTime with Kim Kardashian, bruv. He doesn't want us anymore."
Saka took it in jest, smiling as he fired back: "Do you want me to say hello to you or not?"
He eventually hugged it out with Rice, who welcomed him: "It's good to see you, my friend."
And Saka also shared an embrace with a grinning Shaw, who was enjoying the banter and said: "Hello, my friend."
England kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against their biggest Group C rivals Italy in Naples on Thursday.
Gareth Southgate's side will then host Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as they look to bounce back from World Cup quarter-final heartbreak.
Saka could very well be team-mates with Rice at club level as well next season if Arsenal sign their reported priority midfield target in the summer transfer window.
His emerging friendship with Kardashian unsurprisingly made headlines, though, and the Los Angeles-based celeb also visited PSG during her time in Europe.
Saint was seen with a Neymar shirt as the Ligue 1 champions lost 2-0 to Rennes at the Parc des Princes, their first home defeat in almost two years.
Perhaps European clubs need to beware of an emerging 'Kardashian curse'...
The Brazilian superstar also FaceTimed the party, though, and they met Kylian Mbappe in person, who took pictures with Saint.
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