I’m sure you’ve seen by now the select quotes from Romelu Lukaku’s interview with Sky Italia’s Matteo Barzaghi, the ones where he professes his undying love for Inter Milan, his desire to return there one day, and also the one where he appears to say that he’s not happy at Chelsea and that he’s not happy with Thomas Tuchel’s tactics.
The immediate reaction has been predictably dramatic — just as those hawking these comments are hoping for (and leaving out phrases like “this is normal”) — but here are a few things to keep in mind before you hound him out of the club.
We don’t know when this interview was given. It probably wasn’t in the last 24 hours. The full interview also won’t be airing until tomorrow. All we have now is a tease from Sky.
UPDATE: The interview was apparently given three weeks ago, right as he was coming back from injury but before his positive test.
Told the Lukaku interview took place around 3 weeks ago. That does not make what he said irrelevant but it does place important context on his frustration then v probably not so much frustration now #cfc— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) December 30, 2021
The interview was for a program called “Inter, scusa se ti chiamo amore”, which basically translates to “Inter, excuse me if I love you more”. Saying nice things about Inter or what Inter fans want to hear on such a program is the minimum requirement, one would assume. Lukaku has also made it pretty clear before that he loves Italy and he wasn’t going to leave anyway until he was convinced to try to finish out his Chelsea destiny.
In general, we put way too much stock into what professional athletes say, especially when they’re professing undying love for a club. You probably shouldn’t expect Chelsea players to love Chelsea as much as you do, even if they say they do.
As far as the tactical things go, something is probably getting lost in translation. As Tuchel said the other day, no one should be happy with our results right now. And Lukaku already talked about a few days ago how he and Tuchel have had discussions about what his role could be or should be in the team. This is also a normal thing to talk about within the confines of a team — that it’s not usually talked about in the media is because we clearly can’t handle such information in a non-dramatic way.
Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Tuchel had a few chats over the last few weeks, he admitted earlier in the week. Key will be when the interview with Sky Italia took place. It might be already recorded a few weeks ago.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) December 30, 2021
Full interview here: https://t.co/U1LD44RajV
The only real disagreement seems to be in that Lukaku thinks he’s fitter and ready for more football following his injury and COVID-layoff than Tuchel was willing to give him, though he did play the full 90 yesterday after playing 45 on Wednesday against the physios recommendations.
If you want to get angry, at least read the full quotes that are available as of right now. And maybe take a deep breath and count to ten.
“Physically I’m fine, even better than before. After two years in Italy, in which I worked a lot at Inter with trainers and nutritionists, I am physically fine. But I’m not happy with the situation, this is normal. I think the coach has chosen to play with another module, I just have to not give up and continue to work and be a professional. I am not happy with the situation, but I am a worker and I must not give up.”
-Romelu Lukaku; source: Sky via Google Translate
Romelu Lukaku to @SkySport: "Physically I am fine. But I'm NOT happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system - I won't give up, I'll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional - and I can't give up now". #CFC pic.twitter.com/KGNoJ10cwp— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2021