Lukaku has fulfilled a dream again and returned to Inter
Dreams come true. This time, the dream of Romelu Lukaku, who really wanted to return to Inter have come true. True, this return was fraught with scandal, and the future of the Belgian giant in Milan is not so clear.
When a big club wants to buy a player, they have to look at financial fair play. In many ways, it is the latter that has prevented Inter from counting on Lukaku’s full return. The Belgian was sold by the Nerazzurri to Chelsea for £98m just a year ago. And they were unable to buy him back. Besides, Romelu’s contract with the Londoners is designed for another four years.
But Thomas Tuchel’s team are not particularly happy with Lukaku. The player found himself in a state of limbo, which looks wild for a player who was paid such money. The way out was found in a loan deal. “Inter signed Lukaku until the end of next season for £6.9 million, thereby seemingly finding a strawman solution.
Disappointment after the rise
Football’s fortunes are very mixed and unpredictable. Who could have imagined Lukaku would be untouchable, even though he was a triumphant player in Italy a year ago. Romelu played for Inter from 2019 until 2021. The season before last, he helped the Antonio Conte-led team win the Italian championship, scoring 24 goals in it. After that, he made it clear that he wanted to return to Chelsea, for whom he played from 2011 to 2014. The return came at a very good price.
However, Lukaku scored just eight Premier League goals for the Londoners last season. Although the season got off to a good start, Romelu fell out of favour with Thomas Tuchel fairly quickly. An unpleasant story even surfaced when the German coach, while watching a Tottenham match, which was already managed by Conte, pointed Lukaku at Antonio and said: “Look, it’s your daddy.” Some might have laughed at the joke, but it upset Lukaku. As was the situation at Chelsea in general.
Breaking the veil in the interview
Back last summer Lukaku was actively asking to return to Chelsea, and in December the Belgian’s scandalous interview with Italian Sky Sport came out, in which Romelu already talked about wanting to return to Inter, where he was truly happy. At Chelsea, he said, he does not have the same feeling. Some snippets of the interview blew up the fan base in both England and Italy:
I think what happened last summer should not have happened like that. There should not have been this kind of communication with Inter fans, I should not have left this team like that. It bothers me because it was not the right time. Now I am ready to share my feelings. I have always said that Inter are in my heart. I know that I will return to Inter and I really hope so. I am in love with Italy. This is the right moment to tell people what really happened. I really believe that I can return to Inter not at the end of my career, but at the peak, so that we can win a lot together. I want to apologise to Inter fans. What you have done for me, I will remember forever.
It’s hard to say what Lukaku meant when he said it was the best time to put it all out there like that. After all, it was the middle of the season. And there was no suggestion that he would return to Inter immediately. Therefore, such frankness cost the Belgian dearly. The already imperfect relationship with Tuchel finally soured, despite the apology he subsequently made. Lukaku’s chances were almost nonexistent. If the plan was to turn everyone at Chelsea away from him, he succeeded. But it didn’t really work to turn back Inter fans either.
Lukaku’s rampage clearly failed to impress fans in Italy and England. By his actions, Romelu has devalued his own words. And his new apology only makes matters worse. What is the point of such an apology if he can say anything in a few months to apologise again later? Lukaku’s return to Milan has been greeted with glee by some fans, but the ultras are determined not to accept Romelu.
Renowned ultras group Curva Nord have issued a statement outlining their attitude towards Lukaku’s behaviour, recalling his treacherous act last summer:
“We support Inter and will not object to a new player in the team. But we don’t want Lukaku to be greeted with scarves and flags by our supporters’ groups. All further attitude he has to earn is work and then some. He was supported and treated like a king and now he is one of many. We will never cheer for Lukaku personally, even if he wears an Inter uniform again. We can’t pretend nothing happened. If we do that, we will only accelerate the process of accepting the fans as foolish, gutless consumers. We are not at the mercy of clubs and players. We noticed Lukaku’s betrayal and were upset by it. It can be forgiven in time, but the act will remain in history.
Lukaku finds himself in an unexpectedly delicate position. Over the past year he managed to go from being one of the most expensive and productive forwards to an outcast among the fans of two clubs to which he sought a return a few months apart. His attempt to sit on two chairs seemed destructive to his career. However, Milan have decided to give the 29-year-old Belgian a chance. And for sure this is the last chance. To regain his positive reputation this time, Lukaku will have to sweat harder – only for his outstanding performance will he be forgiven.