Striker Kostas Manolas began his new career at Sharjah FC with a bang -- or should that be a growl -- after being unveiled while posing beside a live lion.
The Greece international defender completed his move to the United Arab Emirates club this week and as part of his lion-themed presentation took part in a photoshoot alongside a wild animal.
All was going well until the lion suddenly flinched and grumbled, causing Manolas to demonstrate an extraordinarily swift turn of pace as he darted away to safety.
El griego Kostas Manolas, ex Napoli y Roma, jamás olvidará su presentación oficial en Sharjah FC (Emiratos Árabes Unidos): lo hicieron posar junto a un león y... 😱😳 pic.twitter.com/HKKSfTITX3— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) September 27, 2022
Oddly, the resultant footage of Manolas and his new feline friend is yet to appear on Sharjah's official social media platforms with the only lion on show being the symbol embossed on the former Napoli and Roma star's Spartan shield.
The 31-year-old centre-back isn't the first player to be unveiled alongside an apex predator this summer. Diego Costa signalled his arrival at Wolverhampton Wanderers by emerging from the darkness while wrangling a pack of live wolves on chains.
It's official. ✍️ pic.twitter.com/FXcgReSlsr— Wolves (@Wolves) September 12, 2022
Costa later admitted he was "scared to death" after coming face to face with the wolves.
"Holding that chain, I kept thinking, 'What if this wolf thinks about jumping on top of me?'" the striker said.