‘At times I thought I might explode’: Romelu Lukaku lifts the lid on his nightmare summer after falling out with Inter Milan and being banished by Chelsea before snubbing Saudi Arabia to join Roma
- Lukaku returned to Chelsea after a year-long loan in Serie A with Inter Milan
- The 30-year-old saw moves to Inter and Juventus breakdown before Roma
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Romelu Lukaku has hinted at the ‘shocking’ reality he faced after returning from a loan spell with Inter Milan and finding no place in new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.
The Roma forward saw proposed moves to Inter and Juventus break down before eventually agreeing to join Jose Mourinho’s side after being forced to train away from the Blues’ first team squad.
The 30-year-old, who has notched an impressive seven goals in eight games since moving to the Italian capital, was tight-lipped on the details of his ordeal.
But was comfortable letting his displeasure with the events be known while speaking to reporters ahead of Belgium’s EURO qualifers against Austria and Sweden.
‘Most people in this room know me. You know that I don’t like to beat around the bush,’ he said. ‘I will speak when the time is right, but if I told you how things really went last summer, everyone would be shocked.
Romelu Lukaku has hinted at the ‘shocking’ reality he faced after returning from a loan spell with Inter Milan last summer
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino had no plans to intergrate Lukaku into his first team squad
Lukaku missed a huge chance to keep Inter Champions League hopes alive against Man City
‘There were moments when I felt like I could explode and five years ago I probably would’ve done. Now I am concentrated only on what I can do best, which is playing football. I worked hard all summer.’
Lukaku came in for major criticism for his lacklustre cameo in Inter’s 1-0 Champions League final defeat to Manchester City when he squandered the best oppurtunity for the underdogs. And inadvertently blocked an effort on goal by his team-mate.
The former Manchester United striker alluded to issues in the build-up, which he also refused to elaborate on, that appear to have played a crucial role in his decision to reject a permenant return to the San Siro and instead pursue a controversial switch to rivals Juventus.
‘I was a bit uncomfortable after the Champions League Final,’ he added. ‘But my mind was troubled because of what happened in the days leading up to it. I will talk about that later.’
Lukaku also had the chance to join the raft of high-profile players signing up for the riches on offer in Saudi Arabia. He was sought after by Al-Hilal, who later got their hands on Neymar, but decided he still had the desire to compete in European football.
He continued: ‘I was honoured by their interest, but after the conversations we had, I was not completely convinced. The league will become one of the biggest in the world, but I didn’t want to leave Europe yet.
‘I knew full well what was going to happen this summer and there were a few clubs I certainly would not go to. Ultimately, you have to consider what happened in recent years on a football and personal level, which is why I made my choice.
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Juvetus fans made their feelings clear about Romelu Lukaku as they gathered outside the club’s medical centre to chant that they ‘don’t want’ him
Lukaku has been full of praise for Mourinho, who he believes has been key to his early success
‘I don’t like to talk too much off the field, but sometimes it’s good to tell people what really happened and what didn’t.’ he added. ‘I will one day, but not now because I want to keep the focus on my football. When I say things, they are taken out of context and I don’t want that right now.’
It’s not the first time Lukaku has aluded to difficulties with his former employers since linking up Mourinho for the third time.
Speaking after his brace in the weekend’s 4-1 win over newly-promoted Cagliari, Lukaku called out those who had talked about his conditioning and suggested his form demonstrated the work he had put in over the summer.
He was also full of praise for Mourinho, who he believes has been key to his early-season success.
‘As I have said in the past, the coach and I have a special relationship,’ he said. ‘He knows my family, he knows my children: he is someone I trust, as he has in me. He is also tough, as other coaches have been in the past, but it’s the only way I can grow as a player.’
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