It was almost exactly one year ago today that Romelu Lukaku returned to Chelsea, in a record deal that was meant to fulfill footballing destiny — for both player and club. But the scriptwriters had something else in mind entirely, as they often do.
No one involved has come out of this situation with more credit than before they entered into it, be it Inter, Chelsea, Tuchel, or Lukaku himself, and as much as professional football is just big business at the end of the day, those feelings are likely to linger for a bit longer. For Romelu, they’re also serving as motivation to do better this year, which can only benefit himself and his club(s).
“The season at Chelsea gave me extra motivation to do even better than before. I think in one year everyone has forgotten about the things I am capable of doing on the pitch. That is a kind of anger that I have inside me. That now the team has it too, which didn’t win last year, all together we hope to do better and bring something home.”
Lukaku matched his career-low with 15 total goals, and failed to reach double-digits in league play for the first time ever in a full senior season. Of course, his swift return had as much (if not more) to do with vibes off the pitch than on it.
“So many things [went wrong]. I think before, when I left, I wanted to take revenge at Chelsea because when I was young it was my team for 11 years. I had the opportunity to go back there and thought I would be a hero, but that wasn’t the case.”
“[So] after the last game I put myself to think what my situation was. I saw that as a player with Inter I did well, the season at Chelsea for me was difficult. I had no doubts, that’s why I made the decision to come back here.”
That said, as much as everyone wants to treat this as a final goodbye, all we can be sure of is that Lukaku will be at Inter this season. Chelsea and Inter do have a “broad agreement” for a second season also on loan, but the final word has yet to be written on that, let alone his Chelsea career.
All the more reason to hope that he does well back in Italy.
“I still apologise for how I left [Inter], but I have to speak on the pitch. [...] I am focused on the pitch, I don’t read newspapers, I work hard and in the end Inter has to win, the rest doesn’t matter.”
-Romelu Lukaku; source: DAZN via Telegraph
Inter begin their season this weekend, away to Lecce. Good luck, Romelu!